Todd McCoy’s Adventure West

Todd-McCoy-animation

GRAND PRIZE WINNER in two categories in two contests. Family for SCREENPLAY FESTIVAL, and action adventure for TABLE READ MY SCREENLAY.

Genre: family adventure

Logline:

A selfish NYC street-urchin thrown from a train in 1872 Wyoming is suddenly faced with rivers, trees, Indians, mountain men, and kidnappers. He finds his true self by losing everything, and then puts his life on the line to save his friends.

Synopsis

This is the first adventure of Todd McCoy, a twelve-year-old street orphan in 1872 New York City, and how he and his friends are taken out west on an “Orphan Train” to settle with upstanding families. Along the way, Todd discovers they are being kidnapped by the unscrupulous Antoine Biggs, who throws Todd off the train in the wilds of Wyoming.

The seeds of a new life are germinated as he learns new ways to survive outside of a city. Eventually, Todd is forced back on his quest to save his friends and teams up with an unlikely anti-hero. Through cleverness, wile, and utilizing the new inventions of the day, they attempt to rescue all the children.

Theme: The journey to manhood by overcoming selfishness with selflessness.

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FADE IN:

EXT. NYC – WHARF – DAY

SUPER: 1872, New York City

A light mist hovers. 

TODD MCCOY (12), and his friend, ANDY (8), wait for the newly arriving passengers to disembark from a clipper ship. 

Life swirls around them in a colorful array of LONGSHOREMAN, IMMIGRANTS, SAILORS, and PROSTITUTES.

TODD MCCOY

My eyes! Ain’t it nice? Did ya ever seen such a beautiful ship in your life?

ANDY

Don know. Me thinks I like that one o’er there.

Andy points to a huge merchant freighter that brings immigrants from Europe by the thousands. It’s anything but beautiful.

TODD MCCOY

Aw, Andy, that’s just a big ol’ freighter what carries people. Nothin’ special ’bout that.

ANDY

But, all those people got stuff to steal, is what I was thinkin’.

TODD MCCOY

You reckon true, Andy-boy, but here’s where I teach you somethin’. This here clipper ain’t got so many people as your favorite, but it’s got the big bugs, and they be rich-rich-rich!

ANDY

You mean ’cause they be wearin’ fancy clothes?

TODD MCCOY

Yep.

ANDY

And frilly dresses?

TODD MCCOY

Yep.

ANDY

And tall hats and shiny shoes with blackies carrin’ their b’longin’s?

TODD MCCOY

Yep-Yep-Yep! Why you askin’ all this if you already knows the answer?

ANDY

I don know I knows the answer, but I sees them right there comin’ down the plank.

Todd whips around to see the rich passengers disembarking from the clipper. A new wave of excitement grips him.

TODD MCCOY

Here we go, Andy. You just follow me and say "Yes, sir," whenever I ask you somethin’, Okay?

ANDY

Yes, sir!

Todd smiles at his friend and they head out across the wharf to their targets.

About TWENTY PASSENGERS, MEN AND WOMEN, are coming off the plank with PORTERS following, carrying the luggage.

Most passengers talk amongst themselves, but all follow one particular ELEGANT COUPLE (late 20’s), walking in silence, dressed in the best refinement of the day.

Todd comes up alongside the gentleman, pacing his steps. The woman eyes him with a curious smirk, but the gentleman pays no heed.

TODD MCCOY

A fine gentleman such as yourself might be wonderin’ just why I should be walking your shadow this fine day.

ANTOINE G. BIGGS

Waiting the chance into my pockets, no doubt.

TODD MCCOY

I’m not just your average Bowery cut b’hoy, no sir. A rowdy, I ain’t. I’m an enterprising man to the core.

ANTOINE G. BIGGS

That a fact? And what, pray, is your particular area of expertise?

TODD MCCOY

Truth be tol’, I don have a ‘ticular, but I’m the best at takin’ care.

ANTOINE G. BIGGS

Taking care of what, then?

TODD MCCOY

Why, of you, sir. I can get you anything, anywhere, anytime.

ANTOINE G. BIGGS

When little sewer rats scurry, it sends a caution.

Todd scurries out in front of Biggs, walking backwards in pace to his plea.

TODD MCCOY

You don’t have to be afeered of us, sir. Me and this little shaver will only bring you luck and just rewards.

ANTOINE G. BIGGS

I can readily see how the mistress of good fortune has bequeathed her alms on you. Be off, scamps!

Todd dips his filthy hat.

TODD MCCOY

By your leave, sir-

Suddenly, Todd trips over his own feet and falls backwards, but instead of Biggs sprawling into a nasty spill, he grabs Todd up before the clumsy boy hits the ground, and continues on without so much as a misstep.

ANTOINE G. BIGGS

Very swift on your feet, young lad, but I was practicing this trade before you were a twinkling in your anonymous parents’ eyes.

Biggs gently sets hapless Todd on his feet.

ANTOINE G. BIGGS
(CONT’D)

Ply your trade elsewhere or rest tonight in a wretched can.

Head bowed, Todd backs away, pulling wee Andy along.

TODD MCCOY

Sorry sir. Sorry for the mishap, I am. I meant no treachery.

Biggs and company continue down the wharf.

ANDY

B’gosh, but that was a close one! I was for sure knowin’ we were off to the hoosegow.

An impish smile spreads across Todd’s face.

TODD MCCOY

Aye, he be fast, that’s a given, but your’s truly, be even quicker!

Todd pulls his hand out of his coat and dangling from a golden chain is a beautifully engraved gold pocket watch.

ANDY

The Saints!

TODD MCCOY

Now, young apprentice, this is where certain of us shine bright.

ANDY

I can see that, sir.

Todd takes off running toward the departing travelers.

TODD MCCOY

Master! Master!

Biggs stops at Todd’s approach, and scowls down on the boy.

TODD MCCOY (CONT’D)

Master, forgive me, but in your haste to save my wretched body from injury, you have dropped a favored possession.

Todd holds out the pocket watch. Biggs is taken completely by surprise and pats his waist pocket.

He takes the watch from the lad and clicks it open. A fine MELODY issues forth. Todd is taken by surprise.

Biggs pockets the watch, then tips his hat to Todd.

ANTOINE G. BIGGS

Sir, you have bettered me, and this I can appreciate.

He takes out a business card and hands it to the boy.

ANTOINE G. BIGGS (CONT’D)

Antoine G. Biggs is the name. I assume you know the Hotel Grand?

TODD MCCOY

Yes, sir!

ANTOINE G. BIGGS

Good. Come by tomorrow at the noon hour. If you haven’t breakfasted by then, expect a meal at my expense.

Without another word, Biggs and company move off.

TODD MCCOY

Yes, sir! I’ll be there. You can count on me.

Andy arrives by Todd’s side.

ANDY

What’d ya do? You gave back the watch?

TODD MCCOY

Would you trade an egg for a chicken, my young sprat?

 

EXT. NYC – UPPER EAST SIDE AVENUE – DAY

The city’s main POPULACE is out shopping, doing business, and enjoying the brisk early spring day.

Katie Gilroy, a blossoming beauty at thirteen, stands in front of the well-used wooden crates she’s erected as a table to display flowers.

She’s but one in a row of threadbare entrepreneurs, like BOOTBLACKS, MATCH SELLERS, SEAMSTRESSES, RAG HAWKERS, etc.

A refined YOUNG COUPLE walk by, snuggled into each other, cooing, obviously in love.

KATIE

One can see by the delight your eyes cast upon each other, that even if threat of storm were to cloud this fine day, it wouldn’t register a nuisance to your bliss.

YOUNG WOMAN

Why, thank you, child. What a thoughtful comment, indeed.

KATIE

The truth of love and flowers inspires one to sigh.

She hold up the bouquet of flowers and nods to the gentleman. He takes up the fanciful banter.

YOUNG GENTLEMAN

Oh, and certainly I couldn’t agree more. I think not that this is but a chance meeting, as I believe these particular flowers were meant to be embraced by the object of my fair heart’s affection.

He takes the flowers from Katie and presents them to his love in a low bow gesture. The young woman curtsies, accepting the flowers.

YOUNG WOMAN

A flower is the purest token of God’s love. I accept them through the hands of my dearest.

The young man hands Katie a bill worth more than the flowers.

KATIE

Thank you, kind gentleman, but I have not the change for this note.

YOUNG WOMAN

(smiles sincerely)

No change is required, maiden. I hope that one day you will be blessed with one such as I have found.

She nods to Katie and the couple moves off down the street.

KATIE

Oh, thank you, ma’am, thank you! Blessed be to those that show kindness.

Katie stands on the edge of the street looking after the young couple, the bill still held up in her hand.

SUDDENLY, another hand whips by, snatching the money away. Two early teenage ruffians, RAT-BOY and BONES, dance into the street laughing, Rat-Boy holding the bill in the air.

RAT-BOY

It’s a fine bit-o-needful you found for us, Katie dear.

BONES

Maybe if yer a nice lass to us, we let’cha help us spent it.

Rat-boy does a pirouette right into the grip of Todd McCoy! Todd is a good foot shorter than the lad he’s holding.

TODD MCCOY

You about done with yer teasin’ fer today, Rat-boy?

Rat-boy looks down on Todd, confidence waning.

RAT-BOY

There be two of us here, Todd McCoy, and we’re a might bigger’n you.

TODD MCCOY

Well, since you know I’m twice nasty to the both of you together, maybe you should call fer more help.

Rat-boy looks to his friend, but Bones just shrugs his skinny shoulders. Rat-Boy laughs and pulls away.

RAT-BOY

You didn’t think we was gonna keep Katie’s money, for real, now.

He hands it back to her.

TODD MCCOY

I, for one, didn’t.

Rat-boy nods to Bones.

RAT-BOY

Let’s be off.

They strut away, a show of pride. Todd goes to Katie.

KATIE

Well, aren’t you the gallant knight.

TODD MCCOY

Aw, quit. Those fellers are just blunder heads. They don’t raise a fright in nobody.

KATIE

I was talking about defending me!

TODD MCCOY

(smiles)

I know.

She slaps him with the money note.

KATIE

Where’d you go today?

TODD MCCOY

Took young Andy down the wharf to learn him a thing or two.

KATIE

Todd McCoy, how are you going to learn to speak correctly if you practice that gutter talk all day long?

TODD MCCOY

(whispers)

If I go around speaking like you, I’ll get the tar whipped out of me, sure.

KATIE

Well, we won’t be here forever, I promise you. There’s more to this country than New York City, and we’re going to see it one day.

TODD MCCOY

Hey, I plumb fergot- ah, something almost slipped my mind. I met a fine gentleman on the pier today and he invited me to his hotel on the morrow for a luncheon.

KATIE

That’s a fact, Todd? What’s he want with you?

TODD MCCOY

Don’t know ‘zactly- exactly. I sort of told him I could get anything he wanted.

KATIE

Lies come to your mouth quicker than the breath of life! I sure hope your exaggerations don’t get you killed someday.

TODD MCCOY

If I die a’fore my time, it won’t be from tellin’ tales, but from protecting fair virtue.

KATIE

Go on, you little imp. You don’t even know what virtue is.

TODD MCCOY

(not convincing)

Do too.

KATIE

Don’t, either.

TODD MCCOY

It’s what knights died for, and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.

Katie wraps her arms around him like a sister.

KATIE

Truth be told. You’re destined to be a hero, Todd McCoy.

 
 

end of sample TODD MCCOY’S ADVENTURE WEST

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