The following scenes included in this script will follow the beginning of the raid through the end. This will be the final half of the movie.
October 16, 1859 flashes across the bottom of the screen.
EXT – JOHN BROWN AND HIS MEN – FARMHOUSE MORNING
Men, it is time to do what we have been preparing for our whole lives. God wants his will to be done. This will be the beginning of the end of slavery. Now men let’s head over to Harpers Ferry. The twenty of you standing here know that God appreciates what you are doing for his cause. Time to leave this farmhouse and begin our raid. God bless!!
Collection of Voices
God Bless! Oh Lord! Let’s go free some slaves!
You three men stay behind here at the farmhouse. And you five go catch Lewis Washington. He is George Washington’s grandson and an excellent bargaining piece.
Cut to the men marching and get different camera angles.
The men begin their sneaky walk towards the Ferry.
EXT – HARPERS FERRY – CALM & THEN CHAOS
Chaos breaks out at the Ferry.
EXT- LEWIS’ HOUSE
Three men break down the door to a house and yell as they are entering.
Lewis Washington, come here!
What is all this about?
You will be coming with us. I suggest you don’t try to resist.
The men successfully catch Lewis.
EXT – TELEGRAPH OFFICE
Excuse me sir; do you need to send a telegram? It will be five….
No, I need to cut it!
Immediately, Grant uses his pocketknife to cut the wire to start the mission.
What do you think you are doing you bastard? Get out of here now!
The wire is successfully cut.
EXT – BACK TO THE FERRY ACTION
Paul, Carl, and Benjamin have a scene with lots of yelling and capture all the watchmen in Harpers Ferry.
Fuck, why are these men taking me hostage?
You watch your mouth or I’ll shove my pistol in it.
Man, I’ll go and get that watchman over by the train station.
EXT – THE TRAIN STATION
Marcus takes off running to the train station and attacks a baggage man. He shots the man.
Why are you killing me? I recently only become the free man I am today.
The train car riding away sees all these events happen. The women and children are screaming as men look on with disbelief.
EXT – BACK TO THE FERRY – NIGHTTIME
Why are the local slaves not joining us in arms?
It should be any minute now. Patience is key. We are making headway with the armory despite their lack of help.
It appears the townspeople are making an attempt to resist, but with ourselves we should be strong enough.
After a lot of work, it appears John Brown and his men have made it into the armory.
October 17, 1859 flashes across the bottom of the screen.
EXT – INSIDE THE ARMORY – NIGHTTIME
Armory Worker 1
I wish we were not on duty tonight or we could go visit Crystal over at the whorehouse. Damn.
Armory Worker 2
That would make my night. Can I go there while you keep watch? I love hitting up Crystal.
Armory Worker 1
I asked first so I should be the one to go.
Armory Worker 2
Fine. It’s your lucky night. Go get some lady time!
Armory Worker 1 begins to walk out of the room, but then he spots someone walking down the hall.
Armory Worker 1
I don’t think either of us gets off tonight. Look…
Armory Worker 2
You are seeing things… Wait I see it too.
John Brown sneaks behind these men and takes them hostage while they are discussing what to do next.
EXT – OUTSIDE THE ARMORY – EARLY MORNING
While Brown and his men are securing the inside of the armory, the townspeople have started to surround it.
Then men inside there better not think they can steal our guns. Who raids a place like Harpers Ferry? We wouldn’t hurt a fly.
More people cut off the bridge to cross the Potomac River.
State your business for this raid please.
We are here to end slavery once and for all.
Please back down for the sake of our families here at Harpers Ferry. There is no problem with slavery.
Slavery is wrong. If it takes the shedding of so-called innocent white blood to prove that, then so be it.
An unknown member of Brown’s team shoots and kills the Mayor as he begins his next words. As the townspeople scurry to try and help the Mayor, Brown and his men have a discussion.
Why the hell did you fire? You better hope that doesn’t cost us the raid. Go get some hostages for leverage after that stupidity.
Some of Brown’s men run out and take 9 hostages into the fort.
Watson, you and Aaron take out this white flag. We are done. I think this raid has been a failure. I was so sure this was what God wanted me to do.
Dad, are you sure? This will always be remembered in history.
Watson and Aaron leave with the flag. Watson is shot down, and Aaron is taken hostage, despite the white flags.
I will not give up now! Oh my son has been taken from me!
John, this is a mess. I’m leaving to swim across the river. Best of luck, my friend.
William is shot while trying to cross the river. The river is immediately filled with blood.
This isn’t going well, Dad. What should we do? A few of our men have died, including Watson. What will I do without my brother?
Carry on, son. It will be tough, but you will make it.
I will go fight for vengeance.
Oliver leaves the fort firing. He advances far until he is shot down like his brother before.
EXT – THE PRESIDENTS OFFICE & LEE AT HIS HOME
Sorry to bother you while you are on your leave, Colonel Lee. I would not be contacting you unless it was urgent.
I understand, duty to country over self. How can I be of service?
Well, Mr. John Brown is at it again. He has started a raid of the armory at Harpers Ferry. The worst part is we received intelligence of this raid months ago but failed to think it was legitimate in anyway.
We all make mistakes Mr. President. I must tell you, I do not have my uniform. I must command in my civilian clothes.
That will be fine. It may even help you command because you will blend in with the townspeople. Thank you, Colonel Lee.
EXT – BACK TO THE ARMORY – MIDDAY
The firing onto the armory continues. About 24 prisoners are set free from the armory as the stalemate battle continues.
Colonel Lee and his US Marines arrive at Harpers Ferry. There is a time lapse on the armory going from sundown to night to sunrise.
October 18, 1859 flashes across the bottom of the screen during this time lapse.
EXT – BACK TO THE ARMORY – MORNING
Local Militia Leader
I cannot risk the lives of any more of my men to attack Brown. This has been such a tragedy already for our town.
We will attack then. There is no reason to continue this and have everyone sitting around waiting for the inevitable. My marines will attack the house.
Lee gathers his men together and devises a plan for attack.
Men, it is time to do what you have been training for. Initially, we will send someone in with a white flag to negotiate. Lieutenant J.E.B. Stuart this will be your job. I want you to notify the rest of us who will be ready to storm the house if he refuses your negotiations. There is no telling what this man is capable of. If for some reason we are forced to attack, we are willing to take prisoners, but also if someone attacks you, feel free to fire back.
Lieutenant J.E.B. Stuart approaches the engine house with his white flag.
Are you coming to negotiate?
Lieutenant J.E.B. Stuart
Here is your letter from Colonel Lee.
Lieutenant J.E.B. Stuart hands the letter to Brown. It reads, “Colonel Lee, United States army, commanding the troops sent by the President of the United States to suppress the insurrection at this place, demands the surrender of the persons in the armory buildings. If they will peaceably surrender themselves and restore the pillaged property, they shall be kept in safety to await the orders of the President. Colonel Lee represents to them, in all frankness, that it is impossible for them to escape; that the armory is surrounded on all sides by troops; and that if he is compelled to take them by force he cannot answer for their safety.” 1
I’m afraid that will not be able to happen unless you can get slavery to end in this country.
Lieutenant J.E.B. Stuart
(starts laughing) Is that honestly what you are fighting and risking your life for?
Yes, and since you cannot guarantee me that, this fight will rage on. Even if you kill all of us, this slavery issue will haunt this country and continue more battles into the future.
Lieutenant J.E.B. Stuart leaves the door and shows a “thumbs down” to the surrounding marines.
Is that man crazy? We have them outnumbered. This is just an unnecessary fight. Storm the house, men!
The marines start to storm into the house following Lieutenant Israel Green’s lead.
Two men with sledgehammers try to break down the door, but they cannot so they turn back. Ten marines find a wooden ladder and force it into the door to break it down.
Lieutenant Israel Green
Lewis Washington, I need you to point out Brown to me. I don’t know which man he is.
(pointing) He is that one right over there.
Lieutenant Israel Green takes his saber to hit Brown on the head, except he hits his neck instead. Brown falls to his side and then rolls onto his back.
When Brown is falling, he shoots Colonel Washington in the stomach.
That bastard. I’m bleeding out.
Green takes his saber to Brown’s chest, but the saber bends back. It would not penetrate Brown’s chest.
God is with me! He approves of our cause to end slavery!
The engine house is quickly taken over by the Marines. This is a big fight scene with bullets and blood. It can last three minutes long, and all of the raiders should be taken alive by the marines.
EXT – LEE GIVING A FORMAL REPORT & NARRATOR VOICING OVER
“The result proves that the plan was the attempt of a fanatic or madman, who could only end in failure; and its temporary success, was owing to the panic and confusion he succeeded in creating by magnifying his numbers.” 1
Many people, including Colonel Lee, believe Brown was insane, but he is ultimately a hero to this country. What he was doing at the time did seem insane, but it ultimately escaladed tensions involving slavery. Historians will agree that this small battle is what eventually led to the Civil War. Brown was found guilty of treason during his trial in Charles Town. He was hung on December 2. John Brown’s death was not in vain though. He was the spark for what would ultimately provide freedom to all slaves in the United States.