The past, present, and future are woven together as one in this dramatic story of two women who must work together to save the life of a child in the post-Civil War west. One is an embittered bounty hunter. The other is a southern woman whose world has fallen apart. The style is magical realism—dreams, spirits, and music are as much a part of the storytelling as the people we meet: vivid characters whose destinies are tied together in tragic and mystical ways.
JB is a strong, sardonic woman who makes her way in the world as a bounty hunter. It is several years after the Civil War and while female bounty hunters are an unusual animal in the Texas, New Mexico and Arizona territories, JB is special—both because of her unusual ties to her Mexican mother’s Curanderismo heritage of spirituality, magic, and healing; but also because of the savage physical and emotional violence that has defined her adult years.
Though she seems to have settled into a brutal life where a gun defines who she is and what she does, her memories and visions call her to other lives and other possibilities. Meanwhile she does her job, approaching each new bounty with skill and determination, with the help of BEN (Benito), a fellow bounty hunter and sometime lover who is also connected to the Curanderismo way..
Memory is at the center of her existence. Her Latino mother and white father, though long dead, are still very much with her, along with a mysterious MUXES CURANDERAS , or medicine woman, who seems able to see everything that was, that is, and that will be. Yet it is the bitter recollections of JB’s former husband, TRAVIS that dominate her mind. She never forgets how he slowly introduced her into his outlaw existence—and how she believes that he sold her out to the authorities, walking away from her as she was imprisoned for his crimes. Travis made unimaginable violence and jealousy a vital part of his love for her, and it has taken many years to allow Ben to alter this perception. Ben’s love is something offered without limit. It is artless and true. But as JB hunts down other criminals, she is still propelled forward by the hope of finding Travis—of one day bringing him to her own brand of justice.
As the film begins, we meet ANGELA JOHNSON, a woman making the westward trek to California with her husband and their infant son, looking forward to a new life with her small family. But it is not to be. Their wagon is attacked by a brutal gang of men who kill her husband, and kidnap their child. She must summon her courage and rise to the occasion if she can possibly hope to recover her son. Though she was something of a belle before the War, she discovers an infinite pool of strength and resourcefulness.
At first it is nothing out of the ordinary for JB when this newly made widow hires her to find her son. Indeed, the only concern JB has is what and when she will be paid. Then JB discovers that the kidnapper is none other than Travis, the man she feels robbed her of her life. Mythic forces are at work as she must choose between her almost feral need for vengeance, and the extraordinary promise of becoming one with her own destiny.
WINNER 2010 SkyFest Screenwriting Award