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The Last Samurai (2003) script

by John Logan, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz, based on the story by John Logan
 
FADE IN:

BRIGHT BLUE TIGER

Surrounded by a pack of dogs, ten of them snarling and 
gnashing their teeth.

The TIGER'S, eyes burn with fury as he wheels in a circle, 
lunging at one dog clawing at another, keeping them all at 
bay.

Suddenly, the TIGER leaps over the dogs and transforms into 
a WHITE BIRD, soaring majestically into the sky.

THE FACE OF A JAPANESE MAN

Sits up into frame, sweating, waking from a dream. He is 
KATSUMOTO.

We will come to know him later.

Fade to black. CREDITS OVER.

The faint SOUND of a BRASS BAND.

			WINCHESTER REP (V.O.)
	...the leader in all forms of armament 
	used by the United States Army. When 
	you need a friend, Winchester is by 
	your side.

THE FACE OF AN AMERICAN MAN

As he smokes a cigar, barely listening. CAPTAIN NATHAN ALGREN, 
U.S. Army, ret, 36 years old and looking every day of it. 
His eyes are lined and saddened. He takes a swig from a flask. 
He is BACKSTAGE at:

INT. CONVENTION HALL - SAN FRANCISCO - DAY

Where a trade show is in progress. Scantily clad lovelies in 
red-white-and-blue undies demonstrate the nation's most 
important new export: arms.

Every weapon imaginable is on display: rifles, pistols, even 
howitzers. Banners declaim the virtues of Winchester  and 
Springfield. Of Colt and Remington and Smith & Wesson. Crowds 
mill around a stage. where:

			WINCHESTER REP
	Ladies and Gentlemen... the Winchester 
	Corporation is proud to bring to 
	you... a true American hero. A patriot 
	who has proven his gallantry time 
	and again on the field of battle.

LITTLE TIN SOLDIERS are all lined up. A mass of grey. Rebel 
troops surrounding a band of blue Union cavalry. A large, 
metal diorama.

			WINCHESTER REP
	I hope you will join us in 
	welcoming... Late of the U.S. Cavalry. 
	The Savior of Sutter Hill... Captain 
	Nathan Algren!

A last swig. Algren steels himself, then strides onstage as 
we reveal a banner:

     WINCHESTER PRESENTS: THE MIRACLE AT SUTTER'S HILL!

Garish limelight from a row of foot lights illuminates Algren.

			ALGREN
	My thanks, Mr. McCabe. Ladies and 
	Gents.

He looks down at the little metal soldiers and begins to 
tell the story of the battle that made him famous. His 
narration is halting, unsteady:

			ALGREN
	...On that fateful day, Johnny Reb 
	had us in a spot, perched on the 
	lonely top of Sutter's Hill, nothing 
	but grey as far as the eye could 
	see: Unhorsed and out of ammunition, 
	I gazed down into the, um, mael... 
	mael...
		(squints to see better)
	-- maelstrom below us, and saw them 
	moving up.

We realize he is reading from cue cards. The little Rebel 
soldiers begin sliding up the metal hill.

			ALGREN
	I knew it was fight or die. Into the 
	teeth of the enemy or we would all 
	be buried... buried...
		(loses his place, 
		under his breath)
	Shit...
		(finds it again)
	...on the same hill with our comrades 
	already gone to Merciful Heaven...

A SUDDEN FLASH:

Algren's  mind. The real battle of Sutter's Hill. The grim 
reality is very different from the dashing tale. Union 
soldiers scream in agony. Those horses still alive buck and 
froth at their tether.

Algren, a lieutenant then, moves among the panicked, bloody 
men. He stops beside a PRIVATE, his brother, DAVID ALGREN, 
19, blonde, not much more than a boy.

			DAVEY
	They're coming, Nate.

He looks over the wall. Rebel troops are moving up the hill.

			ALGREN
	Keep your head down.

			DAVEY
		(smiling)
	Papa always said we should've joined 
	the navy.

			ALGREN
	What'd he know?
		(looks fondly at his 
		brother)
	You watch me now. Do whatever I say...

			DAVEY
	Aye-aye, lieutenant.

Algren punches his shoulder and moves on down the line. 
Nearby, Algren's friend, SERGEANT ZEBULAH GANT, though 
severely wounded, reloads his revolver with the last of his 
ammunition.

			GANT
	How're the horses?

			ALGREN
	Better than you. Smell better, too.
		(looks at him)
	Can you hold on, Zeb?

			GANT
		(fighting the pain)
	I got I choice?

Algren smiles sadly. His mend will die loon without medical 
attention.

Algren moves down the line, bullets whizzing overhead. He 
kneels beside COLONEL BAGLEY, his commanding officer.

			BAGLEY
		(panicking)
	We need a flag. Find me a goddamn 
	white flag!

			ALGREN
	What are you talking about?!

			BAGLEY
	Surrender, damn it! That's an order!

BACK TO THE CONVENTION HALL:

			ALGREN
	No thought of surrender among those 
	boys. Better to die as God made us, 
	we thought, as soldiers... So I gave 
	the order. Mister Bugler, sound mount 
	up. Mister Bugler, sound prepare 
	arms. There were only thirty of us, 
	but we had fire in us yet. I looked 
	down the hill at the destiny ordained 
	for us. And gave the order. Mister 
	Bugler, charge!

The little Union cavalry soldiers begin moving down slots in 
the hill.

ON SUTTER'S HILL:

Algren leads a chaotic cavalry charge down the hill toward  
the advancing rebel infantry -- artillery explosions -- 
bullets snapping, trees shattering.

Algren's brother, Davey, rides beside him.

The wounded Sergeant Gant pulls himself up, waves his cap 
and yells.

Bagley remains cowering behind the stone wall.

BACK TO THE CONVENTION HALL:

			ALGREN
	And straight into them we went...

ON SUTTER'S HILL:

Carnage. Union and Confederate soldiers slam together, 
falling, drowning in mud and blood, stepped on by panicked 
horses.

Algren wields his saber in one hand and his revolver in the 
other, serving death on all sides.

A soldier riding next to Davey is shot. A horse falls into a 
shellhole.

BACK TO THE CONVENTION HALL:

			ALGREN
	"Hip-hip hurray." We shouted, for we 
	had spirit in us yet --

MORE FLASHES:

Algren slices right and left with his saber. He is a truly 
gifted swordsman.

A tree branch knocks Davey from his horse. He sits, dazed, 
on the ground.

Algren kills a rebel soldier just as be is about to fire on 
him.

Single-handedly, be rallies his men, screaming orders, then  
lifts his wounded brother onto the saddle beside him.

He leads them downhill toward safely, Davey clinging to him 
for dear life.

BACK TO THE CONVENTION HALL:

			ALGREN
	Before they knew what hit them, we 
	had broken through into the rear of 
	the rebel army.

ON SUTTER'S HILL:

Algren and his men gather in a copse of trees. They are giddy 
with the exhilaration of having survived.

			DAVEY
	We did it, bro', WE DID IT!  
	Whoeeeee!!

Algren's smile is shortlived, though.

SUDDENLY, the woods ERUPT with gunfire. Trees are shredded.

Algren's men are literally cut to pieces --

Davey is riddled with bullets, his dead body shielding Algren 
from harm until he slides, lifeless, to the mud.

			ALGREN
	Davey--!!!!

Men and horses are torn apart -- they contort and writhe in 
agony. Jerking grotesquely as the bullets rip into them. 
Algren frantically tries to locate the source of this 
firepower. Then he sees:

A Gatling Gun.

Six barrels glisten like steel teeth. This early machine gun 
is the pinnacle of current military might -- 60 rounds a 
second -- a triumph in engineering.

			ALGREN
	AHHHHHHH--!!!!!

With insane courage, he wheels and charges the gun.

Bullets rip into horse and rider alike. Algren falls, 
lifeless, into the mud.

BACK TO THE CONVENTION HALL:

			ALGREN
	And the 23rd rode on to glory.

Applause.

At the back of the hall three elegantly dressed JAPANESE MEN 
watch Algren's performance. They wear Western frock coats 
and top hats

			ALGREN
	Now let me tell you, gentlemen, if 
	there's one thing on earth I could 
	have had with me on that glorious 
	day, it would have been this beauty...

Algren holds up a Winchester repeating rifle.

At the back of the audience we note someone else watching 
Algren.

SERGEANT ZEBULON GANT, whom we last saw on Sutter's Hill.

			ALGREN
	The Winchester Model '73 lever-action 
	rifle. 15 shot capacity, one round-
	per-second, accurate at 400 yards. 
	You'll note the patented loading 
	port just beneath the cartridge 
	chamber and the smooth cocking action. 
	...Lets' just see here --

He peers into the ejection port as he cocks the weapon and 
sights out over the crowd.

KA-BOOM!!! The report echoes among the screams of the ladies. 
Dust and glass fall from a rear chandelier.

			ALGREN
	Smooth trigger action, too.

Audience-members murmur nervously.

			ALGREN
	This is, gentlemen, The Gun That Is 
	Winning The West... Step on up and 
	take a look. Mr. McCabe is here to 
	answer any question and take orders. 
	I thank you.

Later...

A Winchester representative is handing Algren an envelope.

			WINCHESTER REP
	What the hell was that?

			ALGREN
	Got their attention, didn't I?

			WINCHESTER REP
	Boston in three weeks. And sober 
	this time.

He goes. Algren immediately starts counting the cash.

INT. SEEDY HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT

Algren sits alone on the bed. He takes out a leather-bound 
journal and begins to write.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	June 17th, 1876. The dead are with 
	me tonight. They return each time I 
	am obliged to tell their story.

INT. SQUALID BAR - NIGHT

Algren sips absinthe. He stares at the milky, green liquid 
before him.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	I can almost see them in the shadows, 
	their bodies whole and beautiful 
	once more. Sometimes it's as if they 
	call to me in a sweet invitation --

EXT. GAS-LIT STREET - NIGHT

Algren walks in the fog. Sputtering gas lamps give an 
unearthly glow.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	"We are dead," they whisper, "and we 
	are happy."

INT. SEEDY HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT

Algren is back in the hotel room. From his small suitcase, 
he takes the Medal of Honor, looks at it for a long moment.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	"Do not be afraid," they whisper. 
	"You have been dead, too."

A SUDDEN FLASH:

We are back on Sutter's Hill. Algren's slaughtered cavalry 
litter the bloody ground, dead to the last man. A rebel army 
surgeon gives a cursory look at each body before it is loaded 
onto a wagon.

Algren's turn is no different than the others. He is declared 
dead and hoisted unceremoniously onto the pile of corpses.

BACK IN THE HOTEL ROOM:

Algren sits, staring into the middle distance.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	Is this why they gave their lives? 
	So that I might disgrace their memory?

He reaches into the suitcase and takes out a Colt revolver. 
Stares at it, cracks the cylinder to make sure it's loaded. 
His finger wraps around the trigger, the barrel makes its 
way toward his head.

And then, unaccountably, he is laughing.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	And why, after taking so many lives, 
	do I find myself incapable of taking 
	just one more?

A KNOCK on the door. Algren shuts his eyes, then calls out.

			ALGREN
	Go away.

			GANT (V .O.)
	Not exactly the greeting I imagined.

Algren looks up. He knows that voice. He carefully puts the 
revolver back into the suitcase and shuts it before opening 
the door.

			GANT
	Thought you'd seen the last of me, I 
	expect.

Algren is filled with emotion, which he tries to hide.

			ALGREN
	Zeb...

They embrace.

			ALGREN
	Sit. Please.

Gant moves to the proffered chair with a pronounced limp.

			GANT
	...Saw your little melodrama today. 
	Very inspiring...

			ALGREN
	Given up soldiering to become a 
	critic?

Gant smiles and shakes his head.

			GANT
	Got a job for you, unless you're 
	running for office...

			ALGREN
	I have I job.

			GANT
	I mean a real job. Back in uniform.

			ALGREN
	I' m retired.

			GANT
	I don't mean a U.S. uniform.

Algren looks at him. Curious despite himself.

INT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT

Gant leads Algren into a lush San Francisco restaurant. 
Flickering gaslight and trays of lobster. COLONEL BENJAMIN 
BAGLEY (whom we saw in flashback) sits with the three Japanese 
men. Bagley's hair has greyed. He has his eye on a political 
future.

			BAGLEY
	Nathan, good to see you.

			ALGREN
		(stunned)
	Colonel Bagley...

			BAGLEY
	Sit down. This is Mr. Omura, from 
	Japan, and his two associates who, 
	so far as I can tell, don't have 
	names...

OMURA 40, is a handsome and intelligent man. He watches Algren 
closely as Algren pours a glass or whiskey from a decanter.

			BAGLEY
	They're looking to hire real American 
	soldiers to create the first Japanese 
	Imperial Army.

Algren looks at him.

			BAGLEY
	Japan's got it in mind to become a 
	civilized country and they're willing 
	to spend what it takes to hire white 
	experts to do the job right.

Algren takes a slow lip of whiskey.

			BAGLEY
	Sergeant Gant has already agreed to 
	serve. You would be my second-in-
	command.

			ALGREN
	With approval from Washington, of 
	course.

			BAGLEY
	Both governments prefer to consider 
	our mission unofficial. We'd be there 
	as non-combatants only, advisors to 
	the Japanese officers. Help them 
	with training, ordinance and the 
	like.

			GANT
	You ought to think about it, Captain. 
	Unless you intend to take up a career 
	in the theater.

			ALGREN
	I have an agreement with the 
	Winchester Corporation -- I'm sure 
	these people have some concept of 
	what an agreement is.

Omura suddenly speaks. His English is flawless.

			OMURA
	You are paid seven dollars for each 
	performance. You do, on average, 
	fourteen performances a year. We 
	will pay you 400 dollars.

			ALGREN
	A year?

			OMURA
	A month.

Algren looks at him. The figure, in 1876, is staggering.

EXT. SHIP - OCEAN - DAY

A steamship chums its way across the great Pacific. Algren 
leans on the ship's rail and looks out into an endless 
procession of waves.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	June 23, 1876. It is impossible, 
	standing here, not to appreciate 
	one's, own insignificance.

A dolphin crests the surface, arcing into the air.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	Here there is neither past, nor 
	future. Only an oblivion of water.

In his tiny cabin, Algren finishes writing in his journal 
and takes out a daguerreotype of a HAUNTINGLY BEAUTIFUL BLOND 
WOMAN.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	And yet I ask myself, will the dead 
	follow me across the ocean to this 
	strange new land?

He stares at the woman in the picture.

INT. SHIP - CABIN - DAY

In the main cabin, Algren sits with Gant and Omura. Algren 
is drinking.

			OMURA
	...After the Shogun gave up power, 
	the daimyos -- you would call them 
	warlords -- knew that Japan needed a 
	centralized government. So they asked 
	the hereditary Emperor, His Highness 
	the Enlightened Meiji, to lead the 
	country.

			ALGREN
	And these warlords just... gave up 
	hundreds of years of power?

			OMURA
	Economic incentives were offered. 
	Most provincial leaders saw the 
	financial benefits of modernization.

			ALGREN
	What about those that didn't?

			OMURA
	To deal with those who have resisted, 
	the Emperor has decided to create an 
	Army with allegiance only to him... 
	We considered hiring advisors from 
	Germany, but your Ambassador reminded 
	us of your experience in suppressing 
	rebellious elements in your Civil 
	War.

This evocation of the Civil War is not lost on Algren.

			ALGREN
	Who are we supposed to be fighting 
	against?

			OMURA
	His name is Mori Katsumoto. He is 
	samurai.

			ALGREN
	Samurai?

			OMURA
	The word you might use it "warrior". 
	But that does not quite capture it... 
	Katsumoto once served the Emperor 
	but he is now a traitor who leads a 
	band of traitors. He must be punished.

Algren looks pointedly at Bagley.

			ALGREN
	You told them about our experiences 
	together on Sutter's Hill, did you, 
	Colonel?

			BAGLEY
	They know I was your commanding 
	officer. Yes.

Algren glares at Bagley, then stands.

			ALGREN
	Excuse me, gentlemen. I need some 
	air.
		(to Omura)
	I'm sure Colonel Bagley can amuse 
	you with more stories of patriotic 
	gore.

He walks away.

			OMURA
	He is insolent.

			BAGLEY
	Get him in front of the troops, you'll 
	see. Top of his class at West Point. 
	Brilliant tactician. Even wrote a 
	book.

			OMURA
	Why did he leave your army?

			BAGLEY
	What's a hero to do when there's no 
	more great battles?

			OMURA
	Is that an evasive answer?

			BAGLEY
	Sir, this man was left for dead at 
	Sutter's Hill. Doctors swore his 
	heart had stopped beating, but before 
	they could bury him, he came back to 
	life. After the war he fought the 
	Sioux, the Cree, and the Blackfoot.
		(leans closer)
	Point him at the enemy. He was born 
	for it.

INT. SHIP - ALGREN'S BERTH - NIGHT

Algren lies in his cramped berth. Can't sleep.

A SUDDEN FLASH:

On the wagon of dead bodies, Algren's eyes open to stare 
into the unblinking eyes of his brother, Davey, half his 
face shot off. He tries to move but be is buried beneath the 
weight of those piled on top of him. Blood drips down into 
his eyes and mouth, blinding and choking him.

BACK TO THE SHIP:

Algren awakens, bathed in sweat. Terror. A silhouette in the 
doorway.

Colonel Bagley stands looking down at him.

			BAGLEY
	I hope you realize the kind of second 
	chance this is for you. I won't 
	tolerate insubordination.

Algren reaches for a nearby glass, drains it.

			ALGREN
	Court-martial me.

			BAGLEY
	Would you rather I hadn't recommended 
	you for the medal, Nathan? Is that 
	it?

			ALGREN
	We both know why you helped me, 
	Colonel. Don't expect me to go all 
	weepy with gratitude.

			BAGLEY
	I expect you to do your job. Save 
	the self-pity for your own time.

He turns and walks out, leaving Algren to stare at the empty 
glass.

EXT. SHIP - DAY

Algren and Gant stand at the rail.

			GANT
	Hate boats. If the Lord bad wanted 
	man to sail he wouldn't have created 
	infantry.

			ALGREN
	How many times you puke today?

			GANT
	I'm down to two.

Omura comes up next to them.

			OMURA
	I understand you are a scholar, 
	Captain Algren.
		(to Gant)
	Have you read his book, Mr. Gant?

			GANT
	Can't say I have.

			OMURA
	An analysis of the triumph of weapons 
	technology over antiquated military 
	tactics.

			ALGREN
		(wry)
	A real page-turner. Sold twelve 
	copies.

			OMURA
	Nonetheless, I was impressed. I enjoy 
	reading military history. I spent 
	two years studying English at 
	Princeton University.

			ALGREN
	And where did you learn to speak 
	Japanese?

Omura is perplexed by Algren's remark, then realizes he is 
being kidded. He laughs heartily. Algren laughs with him. A 
connection is made.

			OMURA
	Yes, and in Japanese there are twenty-
	seven words for "war." I will be 
	impressed if you learn only half of 
	them.

He walks away. Algren watches him go. His face darkens.

			ALGREN
	I got twenty-seven words too -- Reb, 
	Sioux, Pawnee, Blackfoot, Jappo. 
	Only one language when it comes to 
	war.

EXT. YOKOHAMA HARBOR - DAY

Like all Japan, Yokohama is at the cusp of a new era.

Ancient sampans and wooden schooners beside freighters and 
steamships.

EXT. YOKOHAMA - DOCK - DAY

After 23 days at sea, they are all glad to climb down the 
gangplank. The Yokohama docks are a frenzy of languages and 
looks and smells and sounds.

Japanese competes with German and English and French and 
Russian.

Warehouses fly the flags of a dozen countries.

One striking Japanese character dominates: the symbol for, 
Omura. It is seen on buildings, warehouses, and the headbands 
of scores of laborers.

A series of palanquins, litters carried by bearers, await 
our voyagers.

As does SIMON GRAHAM, a dissipated Englishman who has lived 
in Japan for many years. Slender and pale, with an occasional 
consumptive cough, in his 50's, he wears a white linen suit, 
a bit worse for wear.

			OMURA
	Captain Algren, this is Mr. Simon 
	Graham. He will be your translator.

			GRAHAM
	Pleasure, Captain.

			BAGLEY
	You'll be quartered at the Embassy 
	for now.

			OMURA
	The Emperor will summon you at his 
	pleasure.

Graham ushers Algren and Gant into their own less-ornate 
version.

			GRAHAM
	If you please, Captain...

			ALGREN
	They're gonna carry us?

			GRAHAM
	You're guests of the Emperor. You 
	cannot walk.

Algren notes the hoods covering the faces of the palanquin 
bearers.

			ALGREN
	Why the hoods?

			GRAHAM
	So you won't have to burden your 
	eyes by looking at slaves. Oh, excuse 
	me, they're servants now.
		(coughs, wipes a bit 
		of blood)
	This way, gentlemen...

INT./EXT. PALANQUIN - YOKOHAMA STREETS - DAY

Their bearers maneuver them through the bustling streets of 
Yokohama.

White face painted geishas walk alongside bearded Russians. 
Traditional Japanese kimonos alongside European suits and 
hats, schizophrenic world of ancient Japan versus modern 
commercialism.

			GRAHAM
	Twenty years ago Yokohama was a lovely 
	little port. Then your Commodore 
	Perry arrived and changed all that.

			ALGREN
	All this in twenty years?

			GRAHAM
	Japan has... embraced... Western 
	ways. Hired lawyers from France, 
	doctors from Germany, naval architects 
	from Britain, civil engineers, railway 
	designers, scientists, teachers. 
	And, of course, warriors from the 
	United States.

			ALGREN
	Buying the future.

			GRAHAM
	Or selling the past...

INT. GUEST QUARTERS - DAY

A shoji screen is opened by a bowing servant to reveal the 
clean, classic lines of a Japanese room. Algren is about to 
enter when Graham stops him, indicating for Algren to remove 
his boots.

Algren scowls, confused, and struggles to pull off the high, 
filthy boots. He takes in the foreignness of the room, an 
arrangement of flowers on a low table.

			ALGREN
	No chairs?...

			GRAHAM
	Correct. And this --
		(points to a mat)
	...is your bed.

			ALGREN
	And this?

He points to a block of wood.

			GRAHAM
	Your pillow.

			ALGREN
	You mean to say there are no real 
	beds in Japan?

			GRAHAM
	For its entire history Japan his 
	been completely aakoku, a "closed 
	country." Thirty years ago, if you 
	had washed up on Japanese soil... 
	you would have been beheaded on sight. 
	Now, they let you keep your head... 
	and give you a wooden pillow.

EXT. AMERICAN EMBASSY - GARDEN - DAYS LATER

In the pristine grounds of the Embassy, a garden party is in 
progress.

Incongruous lilting Yankee tunes are heard from the Japanese 
band.

Algren and Gant, now in their dress uniforms wander through 
the party with Graham.

Liveried servants pall trays of canapés.

Elsewhere we see diplomats representing all the powers 
currently trying to devour Japan: Russia; England; Germany; 
France; Spain; etc.

			GRAHAM
	I remember when it was just America 
	and the Dutch. Now everybody's getting 
	into the game.

They pass two German diplomats. The Germans glance to Algren 
and Gant with suspicion, bow tersely.

Graham greets them in German.

			GRAHAM
	The Germans are particularly eager.

			ALGREN
	What do they want?

			GRAHAM
	Same thing your country wants. Most 
	favored nation status.

			ALGREN
	How long have you been in Japan?

			GRAHAM
	Oh, western time quickly loses its 
	meaning here... I first came as part 
	of the British legation in 1857. But 
	I was soon relieved of my position, 
	as a result of various... 
	disagreements with the Crown's 
	attitude toward the locals.

Omura separates himself from his entourage and approaches.

			OMURA
	Gentlemen. I hope you are enjoying a 
	taste of home.

			ALGREN
	I've done with worse, believe me.

			OMURA
	America has much to offer us, though. 
	Its' industry and ingenuity are 
	without peer.
		(ingratiating)
	I have spoken to the Emperor about 
	you. He is interested in the most 
	modern theories of warfare.

			ALGREN
	I look forward to the opportunity of 
	meeting him someday.

			OMURA
	You will have that chance sooner 
	than you think. He has requested an 
	audience.

Graham is open-mouthed at this turn of events.

EXT. IMPERIAL PALACE - DAY

Algren and Bagley sit with Graham in an ornate carriage as 
they cross the moat and enter the ancestral palace of the 
Shoguns.

INT. IMPERIAL PALACE - ANTECHAMBER - DAY

Algren waits with Bagley and Graham outside the throne room.

			GRAHAM
	Remember that he is arahitogami. A 
	god in human form. During the last 
	two hundred years no emperor was 
	even seen by commoner. You may look 
	at him, with deference, but do not 
	speak unless you are spoken to.

EXT. IMPERIAL COURT - THRONE ROOM - DAY

Algren and Gant are surprised to discover the living god is 
barely in his twenties. The divine EMPEROR MEIJI is an 
intelligent and curious young man, yet there is a 
tentativeness about him.

His throne is surrounded by ADVISORS, principal among them 
is Omura. Nearby, the American AMBASSADOR SWANBECK, a cagey 
diplomat. 

The throne room itself is sweeping, beautiful, and extremely 
restrained. Everywhere, tasteful displays of the traditional 
flower of the monarchy: chrysanthemums. The vibrant yellow 
blossoms haunt the chamber.

As the Emperor considers his guests, Omura whispers into his 
ear. Then:

			OMURA
	The Emperor bids you welcome. He 
	wishes you to know that he is most 
	grateful for the assistance your 
	country offers ours, in order to rid 
	ourselves of the brutality of the 
	provincial warlords -- and to 
	accomplish the same national harmony 
	which you enjoy in your homeland.

The Emperor speaks in Japanese. The advisors are non-plussed, 
and Omura leans down for a moment to confer with him, then 
smiles indulgently:

			OMURA
	The Emperor is most interested in 
	your American Indians, and wishes to 
	know if you have seen them firsthand.

Algren looks at Graham, who nods. He may speak.

			ALGREN
	I have seen many of them, and have 
	fought them, too. They are very brave.

Graham translates. The Emperor nods and smiles.

			EMPEROR
		(accented English)
	Thank... you... very... much.

He stands. Everyone else hurries to follow suit. The audience 
is over.

EXT. PALACE GARDEN - DAY

A1gren, Graham, and Bagley walk through the palace grounds.

			BAGLEY
	That young pup runs this country?

			GRAHAM
	That "pup" runs the country no more 
	than I do. He was installed as a 
	figurehead at age twelve when the 
	warlords realized Japan needed a 
	central government. But don't be 
	fooled -- he may be a powerless god, 
	but to these people he's a god 
	nonetheless.

GENERAL YOSHITAKA appears. He is a seasoned soldier in his 
40's. A decent man. He stops before them, bows quickly.

			GRAHAM
	Gentlemen, may I present General 
	Yoshitaka. He will assist you in 
	training the army.

			ALGREN
	General.

Algren offers his hand. General Yoshitaka does not take it. 
He bowl his head and speaks a few words. Graham translates:

			YOSHITAKA/GRAHAM
	He greets you with extreme courtesy 
	and asks if you are ready to meet 
	the Imperial Army.

EXT. PARADE GROUND - DAY

About a thousand Japanese soldiers in baggy uniforms are 
milling around a large parade ground. Each has an old single 
shot rifle. Algren, Gant, and Yoshitaka look down on them 
from a reviewing stand.

			GANT
	Jesus....

			ALGREN
	Ask the General what training they've 
	had.

Graham speaks to General Yoshitaka, then translates his 
response.

			YOSHITAKA/GRAHAM
	He says... We have trained them not 
	to shoot their... asses off.

Algren glances to General Yoshitaka, who looks back wryly.

			ALGREN
	Sergeant Gant, have the men stand to 
	attention.

			GANT
	Imperial Army, Atten-tion!

Graham translates, rather mildly.

			ALGREN
	For God's sake, let's not keep it a 
	secret who's in charge here... Mr. 
	Gant.

			GANT
		(roars)
	ALL RIGHT YOU SLANTY-EYED LITTLE 
	BASTARDS STAND UP STRAIGHT OR I WILL 
	SHIT-KICK EVERY ONE OF YOU 
	COCKSUCKERS!!

As the soldiers immediately stand to attention, we begin a 
montage of the training of the first Imperial Army:

We see Gant drilling the men. Shouting at his translator. 
Trying to get them to march in formation. Algren is nearby, 
watching.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	August 4,1876. As I watch this new 
	army train, I cannot help but think 
	of those who rode with me in me 23rd 
	cavalry.

Algren sits in his tent, writing in his journal. Outside, 
the Japanese are being taught the basics of firing tactics.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	For four years they had survived, 
	never once shrinking from the fire. 
	And so, when given my order to charge 
	the advancing rebel infantry, they 
	never hesitated... And they all died.

We see Algren showing the Japanese how to fire in formation. 
The old single-shot rifles they carry make reloading a 
painfully slow process.

			ALGREN (V .O.)
	Now I am training another army. In 
	another civil war.

Algren and Gant spar with sabers -- Algren's expertise far 
exceeds Gant's, a fact which Gant accepts with good humor.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	Is this why I was spared? Once again 
	to lead men to their death?

It is sunset Algren, Graham, and General Yoshitaka watch the 
training.

General Yoshitaka speaks.

			YOSHITAKA/GRAHAM
	...the problem is they're peasants. 
	They have never had this sort of 
	responsibility or power.

Algren watches Gant march beside the Japanese. They are 
illuminated by the majestic red sunset

			ALGREN
		(to Graham)
	Ask him if they have a flag.

Graham translates. General Yoshitaka responds.

			GRAHAM
	No flag.

			ALGREN
	They need a flag.

EXT. TOKYO - STREET - EVENING

Tokyo is a city in chaos. Everything seems out of balance. 
Dystopic. A collision of Eastern and Western. Algren and 
Gant watch as Graham prepares to take a photograph of an old 
merchant in front of his store.

			GRAHAM
	...I've been doing this for years. 
	Trying to capture it before it's all 
	gone. Afraid I'm losing the battle.

Algren silently watches the passers-by. Something draws his 
attention:

Across the street a man is striding down the crowded sidewalk. 
His martial bearings, two swords, traditional dress and unique 
top knot of hair instantly identify him to us as a samurai.

We will meet him again later, he is UJIO. A terse, grim man 
in his 40's. His proud gait and rigid, imperious manner 
intrigue Algren.

Most of the people on the sidewalk instantly step out of the 
way, bowing in deference. But two young Japanese in Western 
dress do not.

Ujio stands before them, waiting for them to move. They don't.

Tense words are exchanged. Ujio glares at them. Algren 
watches.

			ALGREN
	Mr. Graham...

			GRAHAM
	Ah... now this should be 
	interesting... He's waiting for them 
	to show deference.

Across the street, Ujio barks out some harsh commands to the 
two Japanese men. They laugh in response. Then one of the 
men raises a hand and barks some clearly disrespectful words 
back --

Like lightning -- Ujio pulls out his long samurai sword -- 
it flashes --

Cleanly beheading the disrespectful Japanese man --

The beheaded corpse begins to fall -- 

In one smooth motion, Ujio wipes his blade clean of the corpse 
as it falls and sweeps it back into its scabbard. The other 
man immediately drops to his belly, prostrating himself.

Without another glance, Ujio walks away. His face is 
completely impassive.

			GANT
	What the hell was that?

			GRAHAM
	That... is a samurai.

INT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT

Sergeant Gant gazes unhappily at his dinner: glistening raw 
fish; tepid beancurds; boiled rice. Algren, Gant, Graham, 
and General Yoshitaka sit cross-legged on the floor. Gant 
finds this extremely uncomfortable.

			GRAHAM
	...Before the edicts every citizen 
	had to prostrate himself in the 
	presence of a samurai.

			ALGREN
	What edicts are those?

			GRAHAM
	The Council of State has been passing 
	a series of laws designed to eliminate 
	the samurai.

			GANT
	Why?

			GRAHAM
	Because you are here now, Sergeant... 
	For the last 800 years guarding Japan 
	and fighting her wars was the 
	exclusive occupation of the samurai.

The next course arrives. Thick, black eel. Gant groans.

			GRAHAM
	Men like Mori Katsumoto were the 
	most elite caste in Japanese society 
	until the Council of State -- led by 
	your friend Omura -- decided the 
	whole class had to go...
		(munching eel)
	...Most of the samurai accepted the 
	new laws. But some didn't. Or 
	couldn't. Like Katsumoto.

General Yoshitaka speaks up. Graham translates:

			GRAHAM
	General Yoshitaka bids you to remember 
	that the word samurai means "one who 
	serves." Their whole existence is 
	based on serving their country as 
	warriors.

Graham finishes translating, then continues on his own:

			GRAHAM
	Your Imperial Army is taking away 
	their only reason for being... So 
	what are they to do now?

Algren considers this as he pours another cup of sake.

			ALGREN
	This is sake?

			GRAHAM
	Sake. Rice wine.

			YOSHITAKA
	Hie! Sake.

			ALGREN
	Sake...
		(to Yoshitaka)
	Good.

Yoshitaka nods. Enthusiastically tries an English word.

			YOSHITAKA
	Good!

			GRAHAM
	Vexing people, the samurai. Blood-
	thirsty, honorable, cruel, fabulously 
	artistic. Wanted to write a book 
	about them for years, but no Westerner 
	can get close enough.

			ALGREN
	Ask him if he ever saw a samurai in 
	battle.

Graham looks at Algren.

			GRAHAM
	He is samurai.

Algren looks at Yoshitaka with new eyes.

EXT. TOKYO - STREET - NIGHT

Later that night.

Algren and Gant, a little drunk by now, wander Tokyo's 
bustling red light district. Like Amsterdam, the geishas sit 
in windows facing the street.

INT. GEISHA HOUSE - NIGHT

This is certainly not the whorehouse they expected. Elegant 
Japanese furnishings. Lovely flute music. The MADAM lowers 
her head and speaks quietly in greeting.

			GANT
	My friend and I were looking for 
	some companionship...

The Madam speaks no English. Gant speaks louder, as if to a 
deaf person.

			GANT
	Ladies of the evening? Hootchie-
	cootchie? Boom-Boom?

			ALGREN
		(embarrassed)
	Zeb.
		(tries a bow to the 
		madam)
	...so sorry.

Gant flashes a fistful of Japanese currency.

			GANT
	Universal language, boyo.

The Madam nods and bows. Almost magically, two beautifully-
dressed GEISHAS appear, their faces are painted pure white.

One of the Geishas smile. Her teeth are blackened, to better 
set off the whiteness of her face paint

			GANT
	That one's yours.

INT. GEISHA HOUSE - ROOM - NIGHT

Algren and Gant are led into an elegant room with paper 
screens, and a table set for the Japanese tea ceremony. 

Gant tries to take the arm of one of the geishas -- but she 
moves away, gesturing for him to sit. The other begins the 
tea ceremony.

			ALGREN
	No tea... Sake.

A musician plays a traditional lute. The geisha begins a 
graceful fan dance.

			GANT
	Fan dance. Saw this once in Chicago.

Algren smiles at the Geisha preparing the table. She smiles 
back. Algren pours himself a cup of sake.

Later.

The sake bottle is empty. The interminable lute music 
continues.

Gant is increasingly agitated as the geisha continues her 
dance. Algren can't help but laugh at his frustration. Finally 
Gant has had enough. He rises, a bit unsteady from the sake.

			GANT
	Okay, darlin' time to get down to 
	business.

He shoos the musician out of the room, then approaches the 
geisha, who shrinks from his intention.

			ALGREN
	Zeb. I don't think she --

			GANT
	She's just shy. Who knows what we 
	white devils have got in our trousers, 
	eh, darlin'?

He takes her arm. She resists -- her voice rising.

			GANT
	Come on, now.

He tries to pull her along. Her kimono tears. She calls out  
in terror. Two men appear, bouncers presumably, but alight 
of build.

			ALGREN
	Oh, shit.

The Madam yells angrily at Gant in Japanese. Pushing him out 
roughly.

			GANT
	Now, hold on there, sister. I paid 
	good money.

One of the bouncers puts his hand, politely, on Gant's arm.

			GANT
	Back off, short-stuff.

This time, the bouncer is more insistent. Gant takes a swing 
at him. Wrong move. Before Gant knows what hit him, the little 
man uses Gant's momentum in an akido move to flip him to the 
mat, hard.

Algren can only stare, in awe, at the lethal move. As the 
second bouncer moves to confront him, bowing apologetically, 
Algren speaks in English, smiling, knowing they can't 
understand a word he's saying.

			ALGREN
	Obviously you can kick the shit out 
	of people much larger than you, so 
	we'll be leaving now...

EXT. PARADE GROUND - DAY

The training continues. We see Gant, now sporting a black 
eye. Algren walks with General Yoshitaka and Graham. Graham 
translates:

			YOSHITAKA/GRAHAM
	The General wishes to know if you 
	bad a pleasant evening?

Algren looks at Yoshitaka, who gives him a wry look.

			ALGREN
	It was... educational
		(Yoshitaka nods)
	Would the General mind telling me 
	more about our common enemy?

Yoshitaka looks at him. Has Algren deliberately used the 
word, "enemy," knowing that Yoshitaka, too, is a samurai? 
Algren gives nothing away.

			YOSHITAKA/GRAHAM
	...Mori Katsumoto is an extremely 
	charismatic leader. To those who 
	honor the old ways, he's a hero. His 
	force is estimated at about five 
	hundred and growing by the day. All 
	samurai.

			ALGREN
	What kind of man is be?

Graham translates. General Yoshitaka considers his words.

			YOSHITAKA/GRAHAM
	Katsumoto has no fear. He has no 
	pity. He is kotsutai -- the soul of 
	old Japan... He is my honored kinsman.

			ALGREN
	Kinsman?

			YOSHITAKA/GRAHAM
	We grew up together in Yoshino. 
	Marched together and fought together. 
	He is Kaishaku, the brother of my 
	spirit.

Algren considers this as they observe rifle practice. Erratic 
but improving. Algren notes Yoshitaka's reaction. The rifles 
seem to make him unhappy.

			ALGREN
	Ask him what kind of guns Katsumoto 
	has.

			GRAHAM
	The samurai don't use guns.

			ALGREN
	No, ask him what kind of firearms 
	they have.

Graham obliges. Yoshitaka responds, with disdain:

			YOSHITAKA/GRAHAM
	The samurai no longer dishonor 
	themselves by touching firearms.

Algren is surprised at this bit of information. A servant 
approaches, bows.

			GRAHAM
	Colonel Bagley requires you.

INT. TENT - DAY

Colonel Bagley and Algren stand at a map. Omura sits.

			ALGREN
	They're not a fighting unit yet

			BAGLEY
	We have no choice.
		(refers to the map)
	-- the railroad has been stopped 
	here. Just as it entered Yoshino, 
	Katsumoto's province.

			OMURA
	Captain, we cannot govern a country 
	in which we cannot travel freely... 
	Katsumoto's provocation is strategic. 
	His defeat will demonstrate to the 
	other disloyal samurai that resistance 
	is an act devoid of honor.

			BAGLEY
	The rebels don't have a single rifle. 
	They're savages with bows and arrows. 
	You get up there and show 'em how 
	it's done.

			ALGREN
	With respect, sir, I need more time.

			OMURA
	With all due respect, this railroad 
	cannot wait.

He bows and leaves them alone. Bagley spins on Algren.

			BAGLEY
	You think we're the only country 
	interested in Japan?! You don't think 
	the Germans and the French would 
	like to oversee the new army?

			ALGREN
	Colonel --

			BAGLEY
		(brutally)
	Why do you think we're here, Captain? 
	Because Remington and Colt and 
	Winchester have powerful allies in 
	Washington. We're here to sell a 
	shitload of American guns... and 
	steel... and timber. That shouldn't 
	be hard for a Winchester whore like 
	you to understand.

Algren looks at him, murderously.

			ALGREN
	Yes, sir.

EXT. RUINED VILLAGE - DAY

A STEAM ENGINE lends plumes of smoke into the air as it waits. 
Algren, Bagley, and General Yoshitaka ride along the railroad 
line.

The Imperial Army follows, with Sergeant Gant, on foot. A 
traditional Japanese village is being torn aside to make 
room for the railroad line. Houses are being leveled and 
black smoke drifts up. The displaced villagers gather 
belongings. Omura guards herd them about rather brutally.

Railroad workers are laying a new spur, building a brick 
station. Algren notes the by now familiar Omura symbol on 
the new water tower and on the headbands of the guards and 
workers.

			ALGREN
	What is that sign?

			GRAHAM
	It's the symbol for the Omura 
	Zaibatsu.

			ALGREN
	Zaibatsu?

			GRAHAM
	Old family businesses that own 
	everything worth owning. The most 
	powerful is the Omura Zaibatsu. That's 
	your friend, Omura.

			ALGREN
	They own all of this?

			GRAHAM
	They do now.

SEVERED HEADS on pikes line the road, a warning to those who 
continue to resist

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	October 24,1876. Today we entered 
	Kansai province. Here the local 
	warlords have all been convinced to 
	accept the emperor's rule.

They pass a particularly wrenching sight. Villagers kneeling 
outside what used to be a Shinto temple. The railroad tracks 
cut straight through it.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	Our destination is Yoshino, home of 
	the rebel Katsumoto. Protected by 
	high mountain passes, it can be 
	reached only during the summer months, 
	and even then with great difficulty.

The Army moves on. Ahead are towering mountains.

EXT. MOUNTAIN PASS - DAY

The Imperial Army winds its way up a steep mountain pass.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	A long march. And then a battle. A 
	new enemy, but the same feeling I 
	had in my guts at twenty-one, in the 
	cornfield at Antietam -- men will 
	die here, today, and will I be among 
	them?

EXT. MOUNTAIN PLAIN - MORNING

Fog. Obscuring everything.

Algren and Bagley, on horseback, wait with Graham. General 
Yoshitaka and a few Japanese Commanders are mounted as well. 
The thousand strong Japanese Army is on foot. They stand, 
rifles ready.

			ALGREN
		(to Graham)
	Ask him how they'll come at us.

Graham speaks to General Yoshitaka. Yoshitaka responds:

			YOSHITAKA/GRAHAM
	They'll come straight on. They will 
	push forward and keep on attacking. 
	And he adds that there is no samurai 
	word for "retreat."

Algren prepares himself.

They wait.

General Yoshitaka is suddenly alert. He speaks quietly to 
Graham.

			YOSHITAKA/GRAHAM
	He says they're coming...

Algren gazes into the thick fog ahead, sees nothing. Bagley 
looks worried.

			BAGLEY
	Captain Algren, have you posted a 
	rear guard to protect our supply 
	train?

			ALGREN
	Yes.

			BAGLEY
	Who is overseeing their deployment?

Algren is somewhat confused by the question.

			ALGREN
	No one.

			BAGLEY
	Mr. Graham, you will accompany me to 
	the rear. I want to be certain we 
	are protected from any surprise 
	assault.

			GRAHAM
	Yes. Of course.

Before Algren can respond, Bagley has left the front lines 
with Graham in tow. Gant watches as they head out of harm's 
way.

			GANT
	Son of a bitch.

			ALGREN
		(almost to himself)
	...I'm going to kill him.

			GANT
	Waste of good ammo.

Gant checks his two revolvers. The methodical clicking of 
the chambers as he checks his rounds is the only sound.

Then absolute silence. A light SNOW begins to fall.

Algren continues to peer into the fog. Nothing.

Then a sound... distant... building through the fog...

The steady rumble of horses. Slowly approaching. Closer and 
closer...

Algren notes some of the Japanese soldiers are literally 
shaking in fear.

Algren peers again into the fog. Nothing. But the sound is 
closer.

Then the sound abruptly stops.

Silence broken only by the murmured prayers of some of the 
soldiers.

			ALGREN
	Sergeant Gant, order the troops to 
	assume staggered firing positions.

			GANT
	Imperial Army, assume staggered firing 
	positions.

His order is translated. The Japanese soldiers prepare to 
fire, one row kneeling, the other standing behind them.

One of the Japanese soldiers faints from sheer tension.

Algren can see nothing through the dense fog. The tension is 
unbearable.

Then a form on horseback, ghostly... like some sort of 
medieval monster. An elaborate, horned helmet. Sweeping 
samurai armor.

All we can see it the eerie silhouette in the fog.

Like something from a nightmare.

And then another figure... and another... as 500 mounted 
samurai warriors slowly move into position.

The Japanese troops are terrified

			GANT
		(quickly)
	Hold the line... hold the line...

The order is translated.

A terrible, beautiful moment of absolute stasis.

Nothing moves.

The Japanese soldiers wait.

The ghostly silhouettes wait.

Silence.

Then -- as if a silent signal were given -- the samurai 
suddenly CHARGE, emerging from the fog in a great wave--! 
The force of a tsunami.

The silence is shattered as the charging samurai roar out 
ancient war-cries that chill the blood -- sweeping forward 
on their hones like lightning -- swords and spears flashing

			ALGREN
	FIRE!

The Japanese troops fire then quickly begin trying to reload 
their single shot rifles -- others fumble at the ask and 
then break and run --

Panic and chaos --

			ALGREN
	Hold the line!

Too late -- the samurai are on them --

They attack with an intensity few have ever seen -- many of 
the Japanese soldiers try to escape, turning and running in 
blind panic -- they are butchered -- run through by the 
ashigaru, cut in half by the naginata.

Those soldiers who laboriously try to reload their rifles 
are quickly mowed down by ferocious clouds of samurai arrows, 
fired by mounted Samurai.

			ALGREN
	Sound fall back! Sound fall back!

A bugler sounds the order. The Army begins to retreat.

But suddenly they are attacked from behind as well! Arrows 
shoot from the fog and more mounted samurai appear.

They are surrounded.

Algren, Gant, and the Japanese Officers call out orders but 
all discipline soon breaks down --  it is every man for 
himself --

The battle swirls everywhere around us. Fleeing soldiers are 
run through by lances, run down and trampled by horses.

Each samurai wears individual, vibrantly colored armor. 
Various battle flags sweep through the fog.

Gant uses his two cavalry revolvers -- firing constantly -- 
finally out of ammo he drops from his horse in the cavalry 
style and pulls a Winchester repeating rifle, crouching and 
quickly firing --

Algren uses his revolver first -- firing as he turns on his 
horse -- when the revolver is empty he pulls his cavalry 
saber. He manages to parry the lethal blows as the Samurai 
hurtle past --

But one Samurai, his armor all in black, comes at him on a 
collision course and SLAMS INTO HIM, sending both horse and 
rider to the ground.

Algren scrambles to his feet, his saber nowhere to be found 
as another rider heads toward him carrying a lance.

Algren manages to grab it and throw the rider to the ground, 
wrestling the lance from his grip and running him through.

In the midst of the battle we notice a peculiar thing. One 
samurai is just sitting on his horse. Watching Algren. This 
samurai wears a BLACK MASK.

The MASKED SAMUARI watches Algren fight.

Algren now wields the lance to battle the horsemen as they 
sweep past. He spears one and then unseats another. When a 
third samurai cuts his lance in half, Algren uses the 
remaining half as a club to take him down.

The Masked Samurai continues to watch Algren. Algren's 
tenacity is amazing.

He continues to fight with heroic passion, refusing to give 
an inch, long after those around him have fled.

Then a blaze of bright yellow -- a samurai in yellow armor 
galloping past, firing arrows steadily from horseback. His 
control and speed are astounding.

We will come to know him as YORITOMO, a handsome young 
samurai.

Yoritomo fires arrow upon arrow -- the speed is breathtaking -- 
two arrows slam into Gant, knocking him to the ground.

The battle, meanwhile, has become a rout. Those Imperial 
soldiers who fight are easily cut down. Those who flee are 
run down like prey.

Left alone, Algren finds himself confronted by ashigaru -- 
samurai foot soldiers carrying pikes. He turns to discover 
his retreat cut off by other samurai wielding katana -- the 
lethal long sword.

But rather than give any quarter, Algren launches an attack. 
He kills one samurai before he is RUN THROUGH, at the 
shoulder, by a lance.

In agony, Algren SNAPS OFF the hilt of the lance, leaving 
its tip buried deep in his chest, and fights on.

He manages to parry a blow -- which SLICES into his side. 
The next blow takes off a piece of his scalp. Blood flows 
down his faces and into his eyes.

Algren is now surrounded by ten samurai. A man's heroic  
stand against certain death is of great interest to them. As 
they begin to close in, Algren whirls the lance around, a 
tattered battle-flag with TIGER INSIGNIA still dangling from 
the end.

The MASKED SAMURAI removes his mask. It is the JAPANESE MAN, 
whose dream of the tiger we glimpsed at the beginning of the 
story. His eyes wide in surprise, he watches his dream come  
to life -- the blue tiger holding the dogs at bay.

In SLOW MOTION Algren whirls the lance, as one samurai, 
wearing BLOOD-RED ARMOR, advances. With a murderous smile, 
he draws his katana.

Algren seems spent -- He drops to one knee, swaying, on the 
brink of losing consciousness. 

But as the RED SAMURAI, lets out a battle cry and propels 
himself forward for the death blow -- Algren suddenly LEAPS 
UP and propels the jagged wooden end of the broken lance 
into the unprotected throat of his attacker.

As the samurai falls, the rest of his comrades close in to 
cut Algren off.

A harsh COMMAND stops them in their tracks.

The Masked Samurai leaps from his horse. Everyone steps aside 
deferentially so that be might pass by without being jostled. 

He looks down at Algren, then removes his battle helmet.

And we meet MORI KATSUMOTO, the leader of the samurai. He it 
an imposing man of about Algren's years.

Sensing that he is about to be killed, Algren pulls himself 
to his knees, and SWINGS his saber at Katsumoto.

With blinding speed, Katsumoto pulls his katana from its 
scabbard.

Algren's saber is SNAPPED CLEANLY IN TWO.

Katsumoto looks down at Algren.

Then Gant appears behind Katsumoto -- limping toward him, 
cocking his rifle, urgently trying to save Algren --

Ujio, (the Samurai we saw earlier on the streets of Tokyo) 
leaps to protect his Lord. His sword flashes --

Gant is eviscerated. Algren watches in horror.

A dreadful beat as Gant stands, pathetically trying to hold 
his guts in. Then he sinks to his knees.

Katsumoto turns, leaps back onto his horse and trots off.

Algren finally wrenches himself from under his horse. He 
crawls to Gant, blood pouring from his own injured back and 
shoulder.

Gant is dead.

Algren looks up to see the battle is lost. The Japanese 
soldiers have fled. Or are surrendering, injured or dead.

And he sees one other thing. General Yoshitaka is still on 
his horse, head down. He has not pulled his sword. He has 
not been hurt.

Katsumoto rides to Yoshitaka. A few serious words are 
exchanged. Katsumoto bows his bead in respect, seems to agree 
to something.

Both men climb from their horses. General Yoshitaka pulls 
out a small blade and hands it to Katsumoto, who holds it 
out firmly.

General Yoshitaka quickly and calmly pulls himself on to the 
blade, plunging it into his stomach, embracing Katsumoto.

It is seppuku -- the traditional form of samurai suicide.

Algren watches, stunned.

Then a terrible scream cuts through the battlefield.

Algren sees samurai calmly walking among the injured and 
captured Imperial soldiers... killing them one by one with a 
single stroke.

Algren looks over the slaughter.

And then passes out, bill wounds overcoming him.

					FADE TO:

EXT. MOUNTAIN PASS - DAY

Algren is unconscious, tied to a horse.

The mounted samurai move up a treacherous mountain pass, 
disappearing into the soaring mountains of Yoshino.

EXT. VILLAGE - SUNSET

Katsumoto's village is the other Japan. The Japan we have 
not yet seen.

The gorgeous mountain scenery of Yoshino envelopes the 
village. Snow-capped mountains soar in the distance. A valley 
below with rice fields.

After the turmoil of Tokyo, this place seems a bucolic 
paradise. Traditional, wooden Japanese architecture. Farming. 
The sense of harmony so markedly absent from the cities.

Algren, barely conscious, hunches over his horse. He has 
lost a lot of blood.

Katsumoto leads his samurai into the village. As he passes, 
every person in the village touches his or her forehead to 
the ground to show respect.

Most of these villagers have never seen a white face and 
gaze at Algren with curiosity. And suspicion.

Katsumoto dismounts in a large square, the rest of his men 
follow suit. A samurai helps Algren painfully slide from his 
horse.

Katsumoto moves to the steps of the largest house. His 
officers fall into formation around him. Algren notes Ujio -- 
the grim samurai who killed Gant -- in jet black armor, 
glaring at him coldly.

Ujio walks forward and SCREAMS at Algren in Japanese. Algren 
doesn't move. This only makes Ujio more angry. He paces back 
and forth like a caged panther spitting invective at Algren.

Algren doesn't move. He watches Ujio evenly. This takes 
incredible will.

His wounds are so bad that he can barely stand.

SUDDENLY -- Ujio draws his long sword -- it slashes through 
the air -- the blade singing -- and stops an inch away from 
Algren's face!

Algren doesn't move.

Ujio brings the cutting edge into contact with Algren's check. 
Blood runs where even this feather-light touch cuts Algren's 
skin. Algren doesn't move.

Ujio glares at him. Then sheathes his sword and walks away.

Katsumoto looks at Algren deeply, gauging him. Then be speaks. 
In English.

Algren is surprised.

			KATSUMOTO
	You cannot escape. We are deep in 
	the mountains and winter is coming.

Katsumoto turns and walks into his house. Ujio follows him. 
Algren collapses.

			         FADE TO BLACK:

As Algren begins his time at the heart of the samurai world.

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Algren's eyes open...

A WOMAN is leaning close, her eyes intent on the task of 
sewing up his wound. She is beautiful, but he is not really 
conscious enough to notice, or even feel the pain. He blacks 
out again.

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Algren wakes again. He is lying on a simple mat. His injuries 
are such that he can barely move his head. He takes in the 
traditional Japanese furnishings.

A red ball rolls across the floor. And after it... TOSHIIE, 
a little boy, around four. The boy looks at Algren. Offers 
him the ball. Smiles.

Algren blacks out...

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - ANOTHER DAY

Algren's eyes open...

Through the archway he can see Toshiie and his older brother 
HIGEN, around ten. Also the beautiful WOMAN who earlier was 
stitching his wound.

From his recumbent position, Algren watches as she ministers 
to the boys, who are clearly her sons. Algren is fascinated 
by her grace and the sweet attention she gives them.

She seems to sense him. Her eyes raise, meet his. She speaks 
to someone, and YORITOMO appears. He is twenty-one, too young 
to be the woman's husband. Yoritomo comes into Algren's room. 
Speaks to him.

Algren shakes his head. Doesn't understand. Yoritomo speaks 
to the woman, who approaches and places bowl of soup in front 
of Algren. He ignores it. The boys stand in the doorway. 
Yoritomo shoos them away.

Algren glances up at the woman. Her eyes avoid his, her 
expression is opaque.

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - ANOTHER DAY

Algren now sits in the main room. The woman is changing the 
dressing on his wounded right shoulder and arm.

Yoritomo kneels across from Algren. He is impressed at the 
many battle wounds on Algren's body; the old bullet wounds 
and scars. In Japanese, he indicates his admiration.

Algren his no idea what Yoritomo is saying. Finally he 
interrupts with the only Japanese word he has bothered to 
learn:

			ALGREN
	Sake.

Yoritomo's face breaks into a wide smile.

			YORITOMO
	Sake?

			ALGREN
	Sake.

Yoritomo glances to the woman. She nods, and brings A1gren a 
saucer of sake. He drinks it down. Holds out the saucer for 
a refill. Smiling, Yoritomo indicates for the woman to comply, 
but before she can pour another saucer, Algren takes the jug 
out of her other hand. Yoritomo laughs as Algren drinks it 
down.

EXT. VILLAGE - NIGHT

Autumn leaves fall to the ground. In a tiny hut, the village 
swordsmith begins work on a samurai blade.

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Algren writhes on his mat. Trapped in his recurrent nightmare.

A SUDDEN FLASH:

The wagonload of the dead. Davey's bloody corpse closes in 
on Algren suffocating him.

Back in the house Yoritomo and the woman are asleep in 
separate rooms.

A piercing SCREAM shatters the night

EXT. VILLAGE - FOLLOWING

The screaming continues. Lamps are lit around the village...

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - FOLLOWING

Yoritomo and the woman hurry to Algren's room --

Algren in the throes of his recurring nightmare -- awakens, 
disoriented.

			ALGREN
	Sake.

Yoritomo and the woman confer. Yoritomo looks at Algren and 
shakes his head, no.

			ALGREN
	SAKE!

Yoritomo refuses -- Algren roars and tries to rise. Laughing 
at Algren's ferocity in his weakened condition, Yoritomo 
easily pushes him back down.

Algren folds in on himself, rocking like a feral animal.

EXT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Katsumoto stands outside the house, drawn by the commotion. 
Ujio stands with him, shaking his bead.

			UJIO
		(subtitles)
	My lord, why do you spare the 
	barbarian? He is shamed in defeat, 
	he should kill himself.

			KATSUMOTO
		(subtitles)
	The barbarian doesn't know his shame.

			UJIO
		(subtitles)
	Then I will kill him.

			KATSUMOTO
		(pats him; subtitles)
	Ujio-San, he will still be shamed 
	tomorrow or in a month. For now there 
	are things I wish to learn.

EXT. VILLAGE - DAY

A glimpse of village life -- fish are hung on lines to dry, 
children chase each other, clothes are washed in the river, 
and in the rice fields below, farmers squat as they have for 
thousands of years. In his hut, the swordsmith continues to 
hammer and fold the blade.

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Algren sits hunched in a dark corner. His body is convulsed 
with shivering.

His withdrawal from alcohol, his wounds, his isolation and 
his imagined sins are devouring him.

Then we see he is not alone. The woman stands in the doorway, 
watching him closely. Finally she enters with a bowl of soup.

He glances up, something like panic in his eyes.

She kneels and attempts to hand him the soup, but be knocks 
it out of the way and grabs her by the throat.

			ALGREN
	Sake!

She stares at him, the breath being squeezed out of her, but 
there is not even a whisper of fear in her eyes. She is 
utterly impassive. Shaken, he lets her go, and crumples to 
the floor.

			ALGREN
		(mumbling to himself)
	Sake...

The woman leaves the soup and walks away.

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - DAYS LATER

Daylight streams in, finding Algren lying on his back. The 
worst of the detox is past. As he lies there, these first 
moments of repose lead to:

SUDDEN FLASH OF MEMORY:

The beautiful blond WOMAN from the picture laughs merrily, 
and falls back languorously in a grassy field.

Back in the room Algren shakes off the memory as harsh SOUNDS 
from outside draw him to the window.

EXT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - MORNING

Algren watches from the window as the samurai train. It is 
like nothing else in the world. Part sacred ritual, part 
martial preparation, samurai training combines athletic 
prowess and graceful artistry into one effortless whole.

Finally well enough to walk, Algren comes out onto the porch 
to watch the spectacle. In front of him, is a Kendo (The Way 
of the Sword) master practice with their long and short 
swords. They have incredible control.

NAKAO, a mountain of a man, is a Karate master. He stands 
unarmed, four samurai facing him. They attack with wooden 
swords. He effortlessly defeats them -- the agility of the 
huge man is shocking.

Kyudo ("The Way of the Bow") masters use their bows for target 
practice.

Yoritomo holds a bundle of arrows. In the distance, a line 
of plums.

Algren watches. Yoritomo just seems to stand there, his eyes 
hall-open.

And then -- in a stunning blaze of movement -- Yoritomo fires 
the arrows --

one after another, amazingly fast -- cleanly hitting each 
plum. The final arrow splits the previous one as it buries 
itself in the tree.

A wooden sword leans against the porch.

Algren idly picks it up, feeling its balance. In a flash, 
Ujio has raced over and grabbed it from him. Algren stands 
motionless as Ujio screams at him.

The training stops, as everyone watches Ujio berate Algren.

Even as Ujio continues screaming. Algren simply shakes his 
head, turns away, and walk back into the house.

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - DAY

As the sounds of training resume outside, Algren explores 
the house.

He comes upon Higen and Toshiie playing with the red ball. 
They are embarrassed to encounter him alone. There's a moment 
of suspension, and then Higen throws the ball to Algren.

Algren looks back and forth between the two boys, fixes his 
gaze on Higen but throw the ball to Toshiie, causing both 
boys to laugh and run away.

Algren walks on.

INT. SMALL ROOM - DAY

Algren opens a sliding shojii screen and discovers a small 
room that has been made into a kind of shrine.

Candles and incense burn, a small Buddha sits on a dais, and 
Algren's eyes are drawn to what seems like an apparition 
standing in the corner.

The BRIGHT RED ARMOR of the warrior Algren killed in the 
fog, is held upright by an unseen stand. It is almost as if 
the dead warrior himself is swing back at him.

Algren senses someone behind him and turns. The woman is 
standing across the hall. Their eyes meet. She turn, and 
walks away.

EXT. VILLAGE - NIGHT

A first, light snowfall has covered the ground. Algren walks 
out into the still night. He turns a corner and confronts 
curious sight:

Ten warriors kneel, motionless in the snow, their eyes closed 
in concentration.

As Algren puzzles over this, he becomes aware that Katsumoto 
is now standing next to him.

			KATSUMOTO
	They are training.

			ALGREN
	Training what?

			KATSUMOTO
	Their minds. It is called bushido...

Algren looks at him. He has never heard the word.

			KATSUMOTO
	The way of the warrior. We study 
	from when we are young. Are my words 
	correct?

Algren does not respond.

			KATSUMOTO
	I will practice my English with you.

			ALGREN
	Why do you learn English?

			KATSUMOTO
	To know my enemy.

			ALGREN
	If I am your enemy, why have you not 
	killed me?

Katsumoto doesn't answer.

			ALGREN
	Was General Yoshitaka your enemy?

			KATSUMOTO
	No, I honor his memory as my kinsman.

			ALGREN
	That why you helped him kill himself?

			KATSUMOTO
	If a samurai is defeated in battle, 
	he must take his own life to spare 
	himself the shame of capture. It is 
	required that his kaishaku his trusted 
	friend, help him. I was honored to 
	by his kaishaku.

			ALGREN
	Hell of an honor.

			KATSUMOTO
	It was his destiny. He knew it, he 
	died at peace.

			ALGREN
	Who was the warrior in the red armor?

			KATSUMOTO
	My son-in-law. His name was Hiroshi.

			ALGREN
	And the woman who cares for me?

			KATSUMOTO
	My daughter, Hiroshi's wife. Her 
	name is Taka.

Algren is incredulous.

			ALGREN
	I killed her husband?

			KATSUMOTO
	It was an honorable death.

Katsumoto walks away.

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - DAY

Algren it now well enough to kneel at the table with the 
others. Taka treats him with utter politeness and dignity. 
He watches her intently, seeking any sign of the animosity 
he's certain she must feel.

She hands him a bowl of rice.

			ALGREN
		(smiling politely)
	You hope I choke on it, don't you?

She bows, uncomprehending.

			ALGREN
	You want to poison it and watch me 
	fall over the table and foam at the 
	mouth.

Yoritomo bows in response to Algren's new willingness to 
communicate.

			YORITOMO
		(to Taka, subtitles)
	I promise I'll make him take a bath.

			TAKA
		(subtitles)
	Soon. Please.

EXT. VILLAGE - BATHING TUB - DAY

Yoritomo leads Algren to a large, wooden bathing tub in a 
secluded part of the village. A banked fire smolders beneath 
it.

Embarrassed, Yoritomo indicates to Algren that be needs to 
bathe. Algren strips off his filthy uniform then lowers 
himself into the steaming water.

Yoritomo begins taking off hit own kimono. Algren is taken 
aback. Used to Western privacy, he is a bit disquieted about 
bathing with another man.

Yoritomo, unconcerned, climbs into the tub. He chats 
pleasantly as they bathe, showing off his old battle wounds.

Algren's discomfort turns to outright alarm when a toothless 
old grandmother appears. She happily strips and joins them 
in the tub!

Algren sinks a little lower into the water. The old 
grandmother smiles at him with her toothless grin.

EXT. VILLAGE - DAY

Algren, feeling self-conscious in the clean kimono he's 
wearing for the first time, walks back with Yoritomo. Kids 
start walking with them, pointing at his Japanese garb, 
laughing as he stumbles in his wooden clogs. They pass by 
Ujio training a group of samurai using wooden kendo swords.

Nearby, Higen and Toshiie are imitating the grown-ups,  
sparring with wooden swords that are much too big for them. 
Yoritomo watches his nephews proudly, murmuring details of 
their prowess to Algren, who has no idea what he's talking 
about.

Higen charges his little brother, but goes careening past, 
right toward Algren, who deftly dodges out of the way. This 
causes gales of laughter from the boys, one of whom takes 
Toshiie's sword and offers it to Algren.

Algren looks at the sword in his hand and unthinkingly twirls 
if with a flourish -- causing the boys to applaud. Yoritomo 
bows, and encourages Algren in Higen's direction. Algren 
shakes his head politely, but Higen is already on the attack.

Algren dodges one thrust, then parries another, as the boys 
begin to cheer.

Suddenly, everyone goes silent. Algren turns.

Ujio is standing behind him, arms folded.

Ujio barks a command in Japanese. He wants Algren to drop 
the sword.

It is obvious to Algren what it must mean, but he does 
nothing.

Ujio approaches Algren slowly. Algren holds the wooden sword 
casually, only his eyes betraying the tension of the moment.

Ujio's wooden sword FLASHES, quicker than the eye can follow. 
Algren's sword is knocked from his hands, then, somehow in 
the same fluid movement, Ujio brings the sword around and 
cracks Algren across the chest hard enough to knock the breath 
from his body and send him to his knees.

Satisfied with himself, Ujio starts to walk away, but the 
expressions of the bystanders cause him to turn back:

Algren is standing again, and again holding the sword.

With grim purpose, Ujio returns to Algren, who has assumed a 
ready pose.

Again Ujio's SWORD FLASHES. Algren manages to parry one blow, 
before he is cracked across the face, and blood begins to 
flow freely from his nose.

Ujio knocks Algren's legs out from under him, and while Algren 
is sprawling on the ground, Ujio kicks Algren's sword out of 
his hand, and starts away.

Again, Algren manages to stand up, and before Ujio can turn, 
charges him.

But Ujio doesn't need to turn. In a sliding move, he dodges 
and cracks Algren in the side, then the legs, then the neck. 
Gasping for breath, at least one rib broken, Algren writhes 
on the ground. Ujio digs the point of his sword into Algren's 
hand until he releases his grip. Again Ujio kicks the sword 
away.

The ever-enlarging crowd gasps as Algren once again struggles 
to his feet.

This time without hesitation, Ujio runs back and rains blows 
upon Algren's now defenseless body. First the wrist, then 
the back, then the stomach, then finally the head.

Algren hits the ground, unconscious, his fingers still 
clutching the sword.

Ujio reaches down, pries it from his fingers, and breaks it 
across his knee.

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - EVENING

Algren lies painfully on a mat, his eyes unfocused.

SUDDEN FLASH OF MEMORY:

The lovely blond woman, tears in her eyes, looks up to 
Algren's shining face, the epaulets on his crisp officer's, 
uniform gleaming gold in the sun.

The reverie is broken.

As Taka kneels to swab the cuts on his face. He stares at 
her darkly.

			ALGREN
	Who are you people anyway?

She makes no attempt to understand or respond.

			ALGREN
	You have no God, you have no mercy, 
	you don't even have any fucking walls. 
	Your walls are made of paper, what's 
	the matter with you?

She pushes his head aside so she can attend to his neck.

			ALGREN
	This man tries to kill me and I've 
	done nothing to him, and you, I kill 
	your husband and you act like, what? 
	Like I'm a guest in your house. What 
	is wrong with you?

This last said so intensely that she glances at him before 
picking up a bowl of soup she had brought for him, and 
bringing it to his lips...

			ALGREN
	Do you have a soul at all?

He stares at her for a moment, then knocks the soup out of 
her hands.

Her eyes FLASH for one moment, before resuming their usual 
mildness.

But that flash is enough to satisfy him, and he calms down. 
She walks away.

He sighs, exhausted, only to see her approach again with a 
new bowl. Their eyes meet, and hold for a moment. She does 
have a soul. He takes a sip.

INT. SHINTO SHRINE - DAY

Algren is led past baldheaded monks into an ancient shrine. 
Katsumoto kneels before a small altar. He doesn't seem aware 
that Algren is present.

			KATSUMOTO
	Ujio is teaching you the way of the 
	Japanese sword.

			ALGREN
	Is that what he's doing?

			KATSUMOTO
	At what age did you become a soldier?

			ALGREN
	Nineteen.

			KATSUMOTO
	To fight in your American civil war.

			ALGREN
	Yes.

			KATSUMOTO
	Tell me about that war.

			ALGREN
	What about it?

			KATSUMOTO
	Everything.

			ALGREN
	Everything about the civil war?

Katsumoto sits impassively, staring at the altar.

			ALGREN
	That would take a year.

			KATSUMOTO
	You have pressing business elsewhere?

Shaking his head, Algren sits down.

			ALGREN
	The civil war began on April 12, 
	1861 when the rebs attacked Fort 
	Sumter. Well, actually, it probably 
	began three years earlier when the 
	Supreme Court decided a runaway slave 
	had to be returned to his master

				 DISSOLVE TO:

The TWO OF THEM, hours later --

			ALGREN
	-- and Pickett says he wants to do 
	it, over Longstreet's objections and 
	Lee doesn't know what to think, but 
	he lets him. So 15,000 men go up 
	that hill. And most of them die.

			KATSUMOTO
	Was that wise?

			ALGREN
	No, it was stupid.

			KATSUMOTO
	Why?

			ALGREN
	The point of a battle is to win, or 
	at least have enough men survive to 
	fight another day.

			KATSUMOTO
	You did not try to survive when we 
	took you prisoner.

Algren eyes him, frustrated.

			ALGREN
	What do you want from me?

			KATSUMOTO
	What do you want for yourself?

			ALGREN
	You know they're not going to ransom 
	me.

			KATSUMOTO
	We have little use for money.

			ALGREN
		(mounting fury)
	Then what are you doing, why are you 
	asking me these questions, what is 
	going on here?

			KATSUMOTO
	The snows will melt in May, and the 
	passes will open, and the events of 
	the world will unfold. Until that 
	time, you are here.
		(smiles)
	I enjoyed this conversation in your 
	English. I hope you will honor me 
	with more tomorrow.

Katsumoto stands, bows, and leaves.

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - DAY

Young Toshiie sits near Algren. He labors over a scroll with 
a brush, the gentle brush strokes are hypnotic as they sweep 
across the rice paper.

Algren tries to indicate that he would like pen and paper 
for himself. Toshiie gives him what he asks. Algren begins 
to write:

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	Day unknown, month unknown, 1876. I 
	continue to live among these strange 
	people.

EXT. VILLAGE - DAY

Katsumoto watches Ujio bark orders to the men he is training. 
A sudden movement of their eyes, causes Ujio to stop. He 
turns to find:

Algren standing at the end of the line, holding a wooden 
sword.

An almost imperceptible look passes between Ujio and 
Katsumoto, but Ujio's Resentment is over-ruled. Without a 
word, he continues.

Algren does his best to follow the exercise.

Katsumoto, the slightest hint of a smile on his face, walks 
away.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	Each day I am confounded by their 
	strange customs and contradictions, 
	savagery followed by mildness.

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Algren now kneels at the table with the rest of the family 
as they eat. He is in considerable pain from the rigors of 
training. He tries to roll the stiffness out of his neck, 
when be notices that Higen it imitating him. Toshiie laughs.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	They seem to value nothing more than 
	their families, and yet they kill 
	defenseless wounded men without a 
	shade of remorse...

Yoritomo sternly tells Higen not to make fun of their guest. 
Yoritomo apologizes to Algren, who shakes his head 
unnecessary.

			ALGREN
	Raisu? [Rice?]

They stop, shocked. He has spoken!

Yoritomo calls for Taka to serve him more rice, then begins 
yammering enthusiastically in Japanese. Algren holds up his 
hand.

			ALGREN
	Not so fast. Ko... toba? [Words?]
		(holds up chopsticks)
	What is this?

			YORITOMO
	Hashi.

			ALGREN
	Hashi.

Yoritomo is hysterical with glee now.

			YORITOMO
	Hai!

The boys are suddenly dervishes, pulling various objects 
from the table and around the room, shouting the Japanese 
words for each.

Algren shakes his head, and smiles for the first time in 
this story.

Yoritomo manages to quiet the boys. He points to himself.

			YORITOMO
	Yoritomo.

			ALGREN
		(points to himself)
	Algren.

			YORITOMO
	All-gren.

Algren nods, and the boys start screaming "All-gren!.

			YORITOMO
		(points to each in 
		rum)
	Higen. Toshiie. Taka.

			ALGREN
		(bowing)
	Higen. Toshiie.
		(turns to Taka)
	Taka.

She meets his eyes for the slightest moment, then looks down 
and walks away.

INT. KATSUMOTO'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Katsumoto is arranging flowers. Algren watches in confusion, 
as this powerful lord goes about doing something so feminine 
and delicate. Finally:

			KATSUMOTO
	The parliament of your country has 
	two houses. Why is that?

			ALGREN
	To keep either one from being too 
	powerful.

			KATSUMOTO
	Does not a people need a powerful 
	ruler to protect them?

			ALGREN
	We believe the opposite.

Katsumoto thinks about this.

			ALGREN
	I have a question. How do you come 
	to speak English?

			KATSUMOTO
	Members of the Council were required 
	to study it... Yes, I was a member 
	of the government. I helped restore 
	the Emperor to the throne.

			ALGREN
	So that Japan could have a powerful 
	ruler to protect it.

Katsumoto understands Algren's irony, but doesn't smile.

			ALGREN
	And now you must hate him for what 
	he's done.

			KATSUMOTO
	He is my blood. I serve him with my 
	life.

			ALGREN
	By fighting his army?

Katsumoto looks at Algren.

			KATSUMOTO
	I do not fight the emperor. I fight 
	those who seek to influence him, 
	those who betray the soul of my 
	country.

He slowly draws his long samurai sword, and places it next 
to the flowers on the table in front of him.

			KATSUMOTO
	The Emperor gave this blade to my 
	ancestors 400 years ago. It has been 
	used only to defend his sacred honor.

Katsumoto hands the sword to Algren. Algren studies it.

			KATSUMOTO
	It takes many years to make a sword. 
	It is a holy act. A samurai's sword 
	is his soul.

			ALGREN
	This sword is flawed. What is this 
	uneven line near the edge?

Katsumoto smiles at Algren's ignorance.

			KATSUMOTO
	One man is flexible and compromises 
	too much to avoid conflict. Another 
	man is so fierce he wins every battle, 
	but so rigid he can never know peace. 
	A man who knows both is the perfect 
	warrior. The same is true of a 
	blade... one steel bends, and the 
	other cuts. And where they meet is 
	never perfect. Hold the blade up.

Algren holds the sword, cutting edge up. Katsumoto takes a 
silk cloth and drops it. It gently billows down -- and splits 
evenly on the edge.

			KATSUMOTO
	Some believe a blade is thirsty until 
	it tastes the blood of its enemy.

Algren hands the sword back. Suddenly, Katsumoto swings the 
sword, cleanly splitting the table in two.

Silence.

			ALGREN
	The crew at Winchester can produce 
	one rifle every seven minutes.

			KATSUMOTO
	We gave up firearms two hundred years 
	ago. It takes no courage to kill a 
	man from half a mile away. You must 
	look into the eyes of your enemy to 
	know who you have killed.

			ALGREN
	I'm not sure an artillery officer 
	would agree.

			KATSUMOTO
	Do you?

			ALGREN
	I think all killing's a filthy 
	business.

			KATSUMOTO
	Taking a man's life is nothing. It 
	is his honor you can never take away.

			ALGREN
	In other words you have no respect 
	for human life.

			KATSUMOTO
		(Fierce)
	What do you know of human life? You 
	come here to kill for money. Where 
	is your family? Where is your wife, 
	your sons? What is your legacy?

			ALGREN
		(undaunted)
	And what is yours? To rebel against 
	the future? I fought the South in 
	our civil war. Their leaders believed 
	they were fighting for "honor" just 
	as you do. And their people died by 
	the thousands!

Katsumoto simply looks at him.

			ALGREN
	And my wife is dead.

			KATSUMOTO
	Mine, too.

They look at each other. Some unexpected recognition has 
taken place.

			KATSUMOTO
	Tomorrow we will discuss your 
	country's wish for dominance in the... 
	"Far East."

			ALGREN
	...I look forward to it.

Algren turns to go.

EXT. VILLAGE SQUARE - DAY

We see the village swordsmith at work. He has been forging 
the same long samurai blade for months... Algren watches him 
as he works.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	March 9, 1877. I have never known 
	such a disciplined people.

EXT. VILLAGE DAY

Algren trains with the other men. He attempts an attack, 
which is easily brushed aside by Nakao. Algren ends up in 
the dirt again.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	From the moment they wake, they devote 
	themselves to the perfection of 
	whatever they pursue --

EXT. VILLAGE - DAY

Algren walking with Katsumoto -- they are deep in 
conversation.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	And yet the more time I spend here, 
	the less I understand them.

EXT. VILLAGE - DAY

Two women are bowing repeatedly, chattering in smiling, 
earnest argument.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	Everyone is polite, every nuance of 
	behavior seems to have a great 
	meaning, and increasingly I am 
	convinced that the lower they bow, 
	the less they mean it.

EXT. YORITOMO'S - HOUSE

Algren, holding the wooden sword in 1870'5 baseball manner, 
is coaxing Higen to throw the ball at him. The children laugh 
as Algren hits it onto the next porch.

Taka watches her sons impassively. It is clear how much they 
like Algren.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	And I am sure they regard my ways to 
	be as confounding and unfathomable 
	as I find theirs.

AN ICE CRYSTAL ON THE END OF A BRANCH

Starts to drip. SPRING has begun.

EXT. VILLAGE - DAY

Villagers laugh as they go about the business of life. A man 
throws a sack of rice to another. Two women hurry away from 
a farmer who is teasing them.

Algren is once again among the training warriors. He and 
another man face off, each waiting for the other to attack 
with his wooden sword.

Algren moves first, but his opponent counters, and strikes 
him easily. They wheel around and engage again, and again 
Algren is bested. Furious, he throws himself at his opponent, 
reverting to classic saber technique.

In a flurry of movement, his opponent manages to deflect the 
blows and also knock Algren to his knees.

Yoritomo approaches and bows.

			YORITOMO
	Algren-San. Please forgive. Too many 
	mind.

			ALGREN
	What?

			YORITOMO
		(pointing as he 
		explains)
	Mind sword, mind face, mind people 
	watch, too many mind.
		(on Algren's confused 
		expression)
	No mind.

			ALGREN
	No mind?

			YORITOMO
	Hai! No mind. You try.

Algren nods, uncertainly, and picks himself up. Again he 
faces the opponent, shaking off the tension and trying to 
stay calm.

This time the opponent charges first, and Algren manages to 
parry one blow, before he is again bested.

Yoritomo bows happily and begins yammering in Japanese, 
clearly taking credit for Algren's progress.

Across the square, Katsumoto watches.

EXT. IMPERIAL PALACE GARDEN - DAY

The cherry blossoms have emerged, creating a scene of intense 
color, beauty, and serenity. The Emperor sits cross-legged 
next to a shrine. He is approached by Omura and two other 
advisors.

			OMURA
	Your majesty, beg permission to 
	approach.
		(the Emperor nods)
	Your humble servants are most anxious 
	to know if his Majesty has signed 
	the order regarding the railroad 
	progress.

			EMPEROR
		(after a long moment)
	I am most impressed at the way the 
	blossoms float upon the air, as if 
	held by unseen hands.

			OMURA
	Yes, they represent the highest form 
	of gyoko. About the order, your 
	Majesty.

			EMPEROR
	This railroad must go through Yoshino 
	Province?

			OMURA
	It is absolutely necessary your 
	Highness.

			EMPEROR
	If you say so, I shall sign.

EXT. VILLAGE - DAY

Algren walks through the village, past the swordsmith who is 
now honing the blade, carefully sharpening it.

EXT. CHERRY TREE FOREST - DAY

Algren makes his way through a stunning cherry forest near 
the village. The pink and red blossoms are dazzling and 
abundant. Other villagers can be seen gathering cherry 
blossoms.

It is a place of otherworldly beauty.

It is all so beautiful that Algren just stops. Takes it in 
for a moment. He reaches out and touches a blossom.

			KATSUMOTO (O.S.)
	A perfect blossom is a rare thing...

Algren turns. Katsumoto is kneeling nearby, meditating.

			KATSUMOTO
	You could spend your life looking 
	for one. And it would not be a wasted 
	life.

			ALGREN
	Were you praying?

			KATSUMOTO
	Just sitting. I do not think I have 
	the word. Satori, it means, maybe, 
	awareness.

			ALGREN
	Of what?

			KATSUMOTO
	This moment alone, apart from all 
	others... You know this?
		(Algren shakes his 
		head)
	I am writing a poem about this time 
	we have spent. I have only written 
	one line on "His eyes were like my 
	own but seen through a deep and 
	troubled ocean..." Can you suggest a 
	second line?

			ALGREN
	I'm not much of a writer.

			KATSUMOTO
	Is this why you spend so much time 
	with your journal?

			ALGREN
	How do you know that?
		(no answer)
	She told you.

Katsumoto appraises Algren.

			ALGREN
	Did you love her husband as your own 
	son?

			KATSUMOTO
	You have sent men to their deaths, 
	just as I have.

			ALGREN
	The difference is, you feel nothing.

			KATSUMOTO
	Before you were a soldier, you were 
	a farmer.

			ALGREN
	What does that have to do with 
	anything?

			KATSUMOTO
	You lived on a farm. Or in a forest 
	of trees.

			ALGREN
	How do you know?

			KATSUMOTO
	The way you look at the cherry 
	blossoms.

			ALGREN
		(reluctantly)
	We lived in a place called 
	Connecticut. My... brother and I 
	climbed the maple trees.

			KATSUMOTO
	Were they beautiful?

			ALGREN
	Yes.

			KATSUMOTO
	And you were sad to see them die in 
	the winter.

A beat. Something flickers in Algren's eyes.

			KATSUMOTO
	You were something before you were a 
	soldier. You were a boy who was sad 
	to see the leaves fall and the trees 
	die.

Katsumoto looks at him deeply.

			KATSUMOTO
	Like those trees, we are all dying. 
	The future is an illusion, our plans 
	are an illusion, our fears an 
	illusion. We live life in every 
	breath. Eat, drink, fuck. Now. Every 
	cup of tea. Every word we write. 
	Every blossom we hold.

He smiles sadly.

			KATSUMOTO
	Every life we take.

A beat. He stands, takes in the beautiful cherry orchard.

			KATSUMOTO
	Life in every breath. That is bushido. 
	The way of the samurai.

He goes. Algren stands for a moment deep in thought

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Algren is asleep. And then we note that the ground is 
vibrating... he slides across his mat -- wakes with a start.

An unholy rumbling --

Algren bolts up... just as a paper wall rips open, the wooden 
framework to the room splits and the roof collapses --

An earthquake. Common for this part of Japan.

EXT. VILLAGE - NIGHT

Yoritomo appears. He and Algren crawl out of the house just 
as the ground lurches violently --

Part of the house contorts and caves in. Around the village, 
the wooden frame houses are swaying and lurching. They have 
some torque, but not enough.

Ujio directs the villagers as they battle a fire --

Taka appears, calling frantically for Toshiie.

Then an even larger seismic tremor suddenly TEARS THROUGH 
THE VILLAGE.

Houses are ripped apart -- the whole world shifting.

Though the smoke, Algren sees Toshiie cowering under an eave.

A heavy ceiling beam breaks loose, threatens to crush Toshiie. 
Algren dives forward, grabs Toshiie and pulls him out of the 
way... the front of the house collapses, the beams smashing 
to the ground..

Taka and Higen race to Algren and Toshiie. The boy is safe.

Taka grabs the child and cradles him. Her look to Algren is 
fierce, protective, almost feral -- as if he were the threat 
instead of the rescuer.

EXT. VILLAGE - DAY

Algren watches the villagers rebuild. Yoritomo and Higen 
struggle with a large wooden framework.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	I am struck by these people and their 
	acceptance of fate in all its 
	variations. At a time like this, 
	they seem utterly without sentiment. 
	Even the children have a gravity 
	beyond their years.

Algren goes to them. Silently begins to help them.

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - DAYS LATER

Algren works with Yoritomo, binding the wooden framework. 
Higen prepares the paper walls nearby. He does this with 
considerable skill.

Taka is getting water from a rain barrel. She observes Algren 
helping rebuild her home. Yoritomo is working nearby.

Algren's Japanese is rough but improving:

			ALGREN
		(in Japanese, subtitles)
	Would last longer... if stone.

			YORITOMO
		(subtitles)
	No. House fall. House go back easy 
	with wood.

Algren shakes his head. Taka appears with cups of water. 
Algren looks at her For the first rime, she holds his gaze.

EXT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - EVENING

Torches illuminate a small stage in the center of the village 
square. Several samurai perform a ritualistic Noh drama. (A 
form which, by the way, the samurai invented.) Others play 
flutes and large steel drums.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	And yet I have never seen a people 
	with more capacity for the joy found 
	in the simplest things of life.

Katsumoto himself plays the lead role. An enthusiastic actor, 
he plays to the children in the audience. They are delighted 
with his broad theatrics.

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE

Taka is carrying in a huge lack of rice. Algren goes to help 
her.

			TAKA
		(subtitles)
	No, please.

			ALGREN
		(insistent)
	Hai.

He carries the rice for her into the pantry area.

			TAKA
		(subtitles)
	Japanese men do not help with this.

			ALGREN
		(subtitles)
	I know.

She looks at him, a little surprised.

			ALGREN
		(subtitles)
	I am not Japanese.

In spite of herself, she smiles a little. There is an awkward 
moment.

			ALGREN
		(subtitles)
	I... didn't know he was your husband.

			TAKA
		(struck; subtitles)
	He did his duty. You did your duty.

			ALGREN
		(subtitles)
	And you do yours.

			TAKA
		(softly)
	Hai.

They look at each other for a long moment. She starts to 
move, but he stops her. They are close enough to smell each 
other's hair, to feel the warmth of the other's breath. She 
looks up at him, pleading with her eyes not to take this any 
further.

He lets her go.

EXT. VILLAGE - DAY

Algren stands across from Ujio, ready again for the ken-jutso.

They stand frozen for a long time, hands on the hilts of 
their wooden swords.

Other samurai watch.

Algren and Ujio stare at each other.

But there is something different about Algren's expression. 
Not as much fury and competition, more a sense of balance 
and alertness. He studies Ujio's eyes, his hands, the folds 
of his kimono, the attitude of his body.

We watch Algren closely.

Gradually all SOUND drains away. We hear only Algren's steady 
breathing. He is aware of everything. A bird in a tree. A 
woman grinding rice. A plum about to fall.

A gently swaying battle flag, Slow-motion as:

Algren attacks -- no fury, just control-- Ujio tries to 
deflect the blow, Algren anticipates -- he swings his sword 
elegantly -- Ujio blocks it -- Algren counters --

Algren presses forward, his sword slashing masterfully, 
forcing Ujio back. Ujio counters with complex moves as he 
retreats -- Algren keeps moving forward, calm -- finally 
Ujio's sword is swept aside in one clean movement. Algren 
ends with the edge of his wooden sword at Ujio's throat.

The other samurai watch. Amazed.

Algren twirls his sword in a fancy cavalry "flourish." The 
pride he has always taken in his swordsmanship has been 
restored. He bows to Ujio.

Ujio nods his head, slightly, in respect. The other samurai, 
led by the hearty Nakao, congratulate Algren.

EXT. MEADOW - DAY

Algren carries water from the river through a riot of spring 
wild-flowers. Something makes him stop, and see the sunlit 
clouds in the deep blue sky, the colors around him, hear the 
buzzing of the bees, feel the chill of the air.

A sudden flash of memory his beautiful wife, in green field 
not unlike this one, laughing, tossing her hair, falling 
back into the long grass.

BACK TO ALGREN

The force of the memory causes him to sink to the ground.

Another flash of memory, longer this time:

His wife leans over and kisses his mouth, and his cheek, and 
his forehead. He holds her al tightly as be can.

BACK TO ALGREN

As tears begin to course down his face, and he sinks down 
into the flowers and the grass, looking up into the impossibly 
beautiful sky. He gives in to the sobs wracking his body.

EXT. VILLAGE - DAY

As Algren returns with the water, he sees Katsumoto 
approaching with Ujio and several warriors.

			KATSUMOTO
	The Emperor has requested my presence. 
	We leave tomorrow. You will be 
	released in Tokyo.

He goes. Algren stands, not sure how to react.

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Algren writes on parchment by the light of an oil lamp.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	April 13, 1877. Tomorrow we return 
	to civilization. As eager as I am to 
	be among my own kind, I confess to a 
	curious reluctance.

EXT. KATSUMOTO'S VILLAGE - DAWN

Algren stands overlooking the village as the sun rises over 
the misty peaks.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	These months have marked me, and I 
	don't fully know yet why.

EXT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - DAY

Algren prepares to mount up. Yoritomo says goodbye to his 
family.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	I do know it is here that I have 
	known my first untroubled sleep in 
	many years.

Taka comes to Algren, bows her head.

			TAKA
		(subtitles)
	You are always welcome in our home.

			ALGREN
	Domo Arrigato.

He glances at the unfinished house.

			ALGREN
		(subtitles)
	You will finish it soon.

			TAKA
		(subtitles)
	If that is my destiny.

She bows her head again. Toshiie hands him a scroll: it is a 
picture of the family. Algren is included. Japanese characters 
list all their names.

Toshiie bows. Algren bows and tucks the scroll into his coat.

Algren and Yoritomo move out with Katsumoto, Ujio, Nakao and 
his bodyguard of several dozen Samurai.

The villagers bow and honor the warrior as they pass.

EXT. MOUNTAINOUS LANDSCAPE - DAY

Algren trots alongside Katsumoto.

			ALGREN
	...The Emperor sends a message for 
	you to return to Tokyo, and you go?

			KATSUMOTO
	Yes.

			ALGREN
	Even though you're in rebellion 
	against him.

			KATSUMOTO
	Against the Emperor? Never. I serve 
	him. As I have always done.

			ALGREN
	I don't understand.

			KATSUMOTO
	Our Emperor is young, and there are 
	things I must say to him.

			ALGREN
	But everyone around him wants you 
	dead.

			KATSUMOTO
	And if the Emperor desires, I will 
	take my own life at his command.

He spurs his horse and rides on. Algren watches him.

EXT. MOUNTAIN VALLEY - SUNSET

They approach a large inn.

A boy working in the fields see Katsumoto approaching. He 
doesn't believe it -- the Great Katsumoto. He drops his hoe 
and races away, calling out.

			KATSUMOTO
	We will stop here for the night.

EXT. MOUNTAIN VALLEY - SUNSET

Samurai guards have been posted around the perimeter.

INT. KATSUMOTO'S ROOM - NIGHT

Algren is escorted in. Katsumoto kneels at a table. Preparing 
the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

			KATSUMOTO
	Sit, Captain.

Algren sits. By now he has learned how to sit on the ground. 
Katsumoto begins the exacting, delicate and precise tea 
ceremony.

			KATSUMOTO
	Do you drink tea?

			ALGREN
	I've had little else for some time...

Katsumoto continues with the tea ceremony.

			ALGREN
	How's your poem coming?

			KATSUMOTO
	I am having trouble. The truth is I 
	am not a very good poet.
		(Algren smiles)
	Do you know why you were sent here? 
	To Yoshino.

			ALGREN
	To protect the railroad.

			KATSUMOTO
	Why is the railroad here?

			ALGREN
	So Tokyo can control the whole 
	country.

			KATSUMOTO
	You have seen my province. All 
	mountains. Far from Tokyo. Yet the 
	rail line must come here?

Katsumoto tosses a tiny bit of coal on the simmering brazier 
on the table. Algren watches carefully.

			ALGREN
	You have something they want

			KATSUMOTO
	What do they want in my mountains?

			ALGREN
	Minerals... Gold.

			KATSUMOTO
		(smiles)
	There is no gold in Japan.

Katsumoto gently blows on the coal brazier. The coal flares 
a bit.

			ALGREN
	Coal?
		(Katsumoto looks at 
		him)
	For steamships.

			KATSUMOTO
	And why would steamships be so 
	important?

			ALGREN
	...China.

Katsumoto looks up at him. Impressed.

			KATSUMOTO
	Japan has nothing. China has 
	everything.

			ALGREN
	Mine the coal to create a way station 
	for the trip to China... Freeze the 
	Europeans out and Japan and America 
	have a monopoly on the China trade.

			KATSUMOTO
	Add to this the Omura Zaibatsu. You 
	know the Zaibatsu?

			ALGREN
	The wealthy families.

			KATSUMOTO
	As patron of the railroad, Omura 
	owns all land within four hundred 
	feet of every new rail line. As my 
	country grows, so will his wealth.
		(looks at him)
	This is why you are fighting.

Katsumoto completes the tea ceremony. He pours a cup for 
Algren. Bows his head and offers it to him.

			ALGREN
	And you will tell the Emperor to 
	stop them?

			KATSUMOTO
	I do not tell the Emperor what to 
	do.

			ALGREN
	Then what do you hope to accomplish?

Katsumoto looks at Algren, the slightest gleam in his eye.

			KATSUMOTO
	Will you return to America?

Algren watches him -- why didn't Katsumoto answer?

			ALGREN
	...I have a job here.

			KATSUMOTO
	You should return to your home.

			ALGREN
	Why?

			KATSUMOTO
	Because I do not wish you to be my 
	enemy again.

Katsumoto returns to his poem, he does not look up.

			KATSUMOTO
	Go home Captain... Anshinritsumai. I 
	wish you peace.

Algren waits but Katsumoto just continues to work on his 
poem.

EXT. AROUND THE INN - NIGHT

The samurai guards are alert, their senses heightened to 
almost superhuman proportions.

But there is another way. Another way of learning combat. A 
way without the beauty, the philosophy and the moral code.

They are almost imperceptible at first... their head-to-toe  
black clothes a perfect camouflage... their silence and 
stealth are otherworldly.

They were then known as Shinobi, masters of stealth and 
spying.

We know them as Ninjas.

They float across the ground... creeping an inch every hour... 
complete physical control. One black-gloved finger moves. 
Then the next.

They crawl and then wait, poised on their fingertips and 
toes.

There is no sound as they strike.

The samurai guards are garroted in an instant. Other Ninjas 
catch the samurai's weapons as they fall. No sound disturbs 
the peaceful night.

EXT. INN - FRONT DOORWAY - NIGHT

Silence.

Two samurai guards are in position.

One of them glances up at the stars.

A Ninja throwing star instantly slices into his jugular -- 
blood sprays -- the other guard turns. A series of Ninja 
slice into him...

EXT. INN - WALLS - NIGHT

Silence.

The Ninjas use claws to crawl up the walls like spiders.

EXT. INN - ROOF - NIGHT

Silence.

A samurai guard stands at the edge of the roof. A Ninja 
silently moves toward him. Stops. Ten feet away.

He pulls out a shuriken -- a small needle-shaped projectile, 
dips it into a sack of poison. Places it carefully into the 
palm of his hand. And with the flick of his wrist --

The needle flies -- stabbing into the samurai -- he crumples.

Other Ninjas immediately pour over the edge of the roof -- 
catching the samurai before he falls...

INT. INN - KATSUMOTO'S ROOM - NIGHT

Silence.

Katsumoto cannot sleep. He stares out the window at a 
nightingale.

INT. INN - UJIO'S ROOM - NIGHT

Silence.

Ujio sits in his room. He is unblinking. Alert. Swords at 
the ready.

INT. INN - ALGREN'S ROOM - NIGHT

Silence.

Algren cannot sleep either. He sits leaning against a wall. 
Thinking.

INT. INN - MAIN HALL - NIGHT

Silence.

Yoritomo drinks tea with Nakao, the huge martial arts master.

INT. OUTSIDE KATSUMOTO'S ROOM - NIGHT

A guard stands sentinel. Above his head, unbeknownst to him, 
two Ninjas descend on ropes.

One of them swings a long chain -- to which a barbed-knife 
is attached.

As it lodges in the guard's chest, the second Ninja swings 
down just in time to catch the dead guard, silently, before 
his body hits the ground.

INT. INN - KATSUMOTO'S ROOM - NIGHT

Silence.

Katsumoto lies in bed listening to the night bird. It stops 
singing. Katsumoto smiles sadly. He decides to give up on 
sleep, leans forward to rise.

This act saves his life.

For when the Ninjas come, they come all at once --

A Ninja suddenly comes TEARING STRAIGHT THROUGH THE PAPER 
WALL, his sword slashing down -- just missing Katsumoto.

Katsumoto calls out an alarm, diving and rolling across the 
floor for his sword. He instantly kills one Ninja using his 
steel-tipped "war fan" to slash his attackers throat. Another 
smashes in through the window.

INT. INN - MAIN HALL - NIGHT

Ninjas EXPLODE into the main hall. Samurai who come out of 
their rooms are cut down by a variety of weapons -- one takes 
a throwing star in the face, others are felled by the 
traditional ninja-to, short swords ideal for fighting in 
confined spaces, chain-knives, nun-chaka and others.

More Ninjas drop from the rafters on ropes.

INT. INN - ALGREN'S ROOM - NIGHT

A Ninja SMASHES through the paper wall -- Algren grabs the 
nearest object, a low tea table, and swings it at his head. 
The Ninja dodges the blow and slices at Algren with short-
sword.

Algren barely avoids the blow by ducking behind a post as  
the sword LODGES deep in the wood. Algren flings himself, 
bodily, at his attacker.

INT. INN - MAIN HALL - NIGHT

Ninja throwing stars spin across the room, killing a samurai.

Yoritomo emerges from his room, readying his bow, but the 
dead samurai falls back blocking his way. From behind the 
rice wall, Yoritomo lets fly an arrow without even looking.

It passes THROUGH the wall, killing the Ninja on the opposite 
balcony.

INT. INN - FIRST FLOOR - NIGHT

Ujio screams a war cry and begins to battle his way up the 
stairs. With breathtaking moves, he slashes hands and limbs, 
forcing the Ninja back.

Nakao fights his way up beside him, desperately trying to 
reach Katsumoto's room. Using only his bare hands he catches 
a Ninja's wrist and hurls him over the railing.

INT. INN - ALGREN'S ROOM - NIGHT

Algren and the Ninja are in a death struggle, kneeing, 
gouging, butting. They awkwardly smash through a paper wall 
into the next room.

INT. INN - KATSUMOTO'S ROOM - NIGHT

Katsumoto wields his long sword in one hand and his short 
sword in the other. It is the first time we have seen him in 
action and his movements are both beautiful and deadly.

But more Ninjas are pouring in through the window, threatening 
to overwhelm him.

INT. INN - ALGREN'S ROOM - NIGHT

Rolling on the ground, Algren manages to grab a chopstick 
and STAB his adversary through the eye.

He picks up the fallen short sword and steps out into the 
hall.

ARROWS whiz past, thudding into the wall beside his head.

INT. INN - KATSUMOTO'S ROOM - NIGHT

Katsumoto, breathing heavily, his kimono shredded and bloody, 
is fending off the Ninjas' increasingly savage attacks as 
Algren enters.

Algren SCREAMS, distracting them just long enough for 
Katsumoto to take advantage and kill one.

Then, just as a Ninja is about to kill Algren, Katsumoto 
FLINGS his short sword... it pin-wheels across the room, 
hitting Algren's attacker in the chest.

Without missing a beat, Algren pulls the short sword from 
the dying Ninja's chest and uses it to stab another Ninja 
who, thinking Algren defenseless, has launched an attack.

INT. INN - MAIN HALL - NIGHT

Ujio and Nakao are back to back, a perfect fighting machine 
as they fight their way to Katsumoto's rescue. They battle 
Ninjas wielding lethal kusarigamas, the Ninjas swing chains, 
the attached blades slice the air. Nakao catches the chains 
and flings the Ninja over the balcony.

INT. YORITOMO'S ROOM - NIGHT

Yoritomo is pinned down. Darts and throwing stars shred the 
rice paper wall above him. He picks off another Ninja before 
changing his position.

INT. INN - KATSUMOTO'S ROOM - NIGHT

The blazing sword battle continues.

Algren throws a beautiful painted standing-screen in front 
of an attacking Ninja, momentarily confusing him. Then he 
stabs THROUGH THE SCREEN -- as a blood-stain SPREADS across 
the pastoral painting.

But another Ninja catches Algren off-guard and slices at him 
with his short sword. As Algren lifts his sword to parry the 
blow, HIS LITTLE FINGER IS CHOPPED OFF.

He drops the sword, momentarily defenseless.

Across the hallway Yoritomo has been watching the shadowplay 
on the rice-paper walls.

Algren's attacker raises his blade to deliver the death blow.

In Katsumoto's room Algren flinches involuntarily beneath 
the raised blade. Suddenly the Ninja JACKKNIFES as if punched 
by an unseen hand. As he spins, dead, to the ground, we SEE 
an ARROW lodged between his shoulder blades. Yoritomo has 
FIRED blindly, through the wall, killing Algren's attacker.

Nearby, a Ninja hurls a throwing star at Katsumoto. With 
blind instinct Katsumoto turns and takes the blade in the 
meat of his arm.

Algren, meanwhile, has ripped the sleeve of his kimono into 
a tourniquet for his maimed hand.

He uses the rest of the fabric TO TIE HIS HAND TO HIS SWORD 
before launching himself back into the fray -- slicing an 
attacker just as he is about to impale Katsumoto.

Together, he and Katsumoto force the last two Ninjas through 
a paper wall to the next room.

They fight all the way through that room and BLAST through 
another paper wall to the next.

INT. INN - STAIRWAY - NIGHT

The battle continues unabated on the stairs -- the Ninjas 
spring for position with incredible grace -- perching and 
fighting on banisters, leaping from one level to the next.

It is a mayhem of flashing swords and flailing limbs and 
flying arrows and spinning Ninja stars.

Sprays of blood splatter against the white rice paper walls.

Some of the fighting is less than elegant. Men bite and 
wrestle and gouge to survive in close quarters.

All of them are bloody and sweaty and dirty and tired, heaving 
for breath, their skin flayed open, their kimonos ripped, 
their hands and arms and faces blood-stained.

But more samurai reinforcements follow Ujio up the stairs: 
Together with Yoritomo and Nakao, they have begun to gain 
the upper hand.

Ujio flings both his swords through the air -- killing two 
Ninjas -- and dives to fight others -- his martial arts skills 
are dazzling.

Algren and Katsumoto are fighting side by side.

And we cut to --

EXT. INN - NIGHT

Outside of the inn, we slowly pull away...

The sounds of the battle gradually fade...

Soon it is nothing more than a lovely rustic inn nestled in 
the mountains.

INT. INN - STAIRWAY - NIGHT

Later. The battle is over.

Ninja and samurai corpses litter the inn.

We slowly move up the long stairway from the bottom...

Yoritomo pulls a Ninja star from Nakao's_shou1der. Then one 
from his own.

We move up another level, past more bodies...

Ujio moves through the Ninjas. Making sure they are dead. 
Before sheathing his sword, he angrily FLICKS it at the rice 
paper wall, spattering it with the bloody spray.

Katsumoto wipes his sword on a nearby corpse, replaces it in 
its sheath. He sits beside Algren on a stair. Both men are 
exhausted. Bloodied. Alive.

A long beat as we watch the two warriors.

Slow fade to...

EXT. TOKYO - IMPERIAL PALACE - DAY

Algren, Katsumoto and the others are nearing the palace. 
Algren slows to a stop -- his path is toward the city. 
Katsumoto stops, looks at him, then does something absolutely 
extraordinary.

He kneels and bows before Algren. Quickly touching his head 
to the dirt.

Then he rises, turns and walks toward the palace.

Algren stands, stunned.

EXT. PARADE GROUND - DAY

Algren walks onto the parade ground. The change he sees could 
not be more remarkable.

Thousands of new Japanese troops are drilling with new bolt-
action Mausers. They are precise, exact and frighteningly 
mechanistic, their uniforms new and crisp.

New German advisors are barking commands. Colonel Bagley 
sees him.

			BAGLEY
	Algren? My God, you never cease to 
	astonish.

Bagley runs over, hand extended, but Algren turns to look at 
the troops.

			ALGREN
	They have new weapons.

			BAGLEY
	The Kaiser was only too happy to 
	help. Along with his friends at Mauser 
	and Krupp. Thank God we Americans 
	still have a few teeth in our head.

And they come to the "teeth." Howitzer cannons. A row of 
them. Artillery officers in US Army uniforms are instructing 
Japanese officers.

			BAGLEY
	The ambassador and I have spent eight 
	months kissing Omura's ass so he'll 
	sign the damn trade pact with us. 
	You spent all this time living with 
	those savages?
		(Algren looks at him)
	He's going to want to talk to you...

			ALGREN
	I need a bath.

			BAGLEY
	And your back pay, I imagine.

Algren starts walking away.

			BAGLEY
	They got their flag... See?

And we see it... snapping on a flagpole high above the parade 
ground.

It is immediately familiar. A red circle on a white field. 
The Rising Sun.

The Howitzers fire in sequence. Thundering blasts that shake 
the heavens.

EXT. ROYAL TEMPLE - DAY

Omura stands above Emperor Meiji respectful but persistent.

The Emperor is kneeling, tending to his iris garden. It is 
one of the wonders of the Palace: a sea of white, pink, blue, 
and purple blossoms.

Retainers and servants stand at a distance. One holds a 
standard with the Imperial seal: a yellow chrysanthemum.

Omura sees Katsumoto making his way toward them. He talks a 
bit more quickly to the Emperor.

Katsumoto begins to prostrate himself before the Emperor, 
the usual sign of extreme respect -- but the Emperor stops 
him:

			EMPEROR
		(subtitles)
	No, Mori-san. We are "civilized" 
	now.

Katsumoto stops prostrating himself. The Emperor offers his 
hand.

			KATSUMOTO
		(subtitles)
	I cannot touch the Sacred One.

			EMPEROR
		(subtitles)
	You can.

It is a difficult moment for Katsumoto. He simply cannot do 
it.

			OMURA
		(subtitles)
	Did you have a pleasant journey, 
	Minister Katsumoto?

			KATSUMOTO
		(subtitles)
	It was uneventful.

Omura appreciates Katsumoto's droll response. He assumes 
that Katsumoto is aware of his part in the assassination 
attempt.

			EMPEROR
		(subtitles)
	If it is not a great imposition. I 
	desire a moment alone with Minister 
	Katsumoto. Omura-San.

			OMURA
		(subtitles)
	Enlightened One, perhaps I can be of 
	service in a conversation of state.

			EMPEROR
		(subtitles)
	So kind of you, but I fear my old 
	teacher wishes to upbraid me in 
	private for neglecting my studies.

Omura bows his head quickly and goes.

Silence. The Emperor gazes at Katsumoto. Then:

			EMPEROR
		(subtitles)
	You rise against me, my teacher.

			KATSUMOTO
		(subtitles)
	No, Highness, I rise against your 
	enemies.

			EMPEROR
		(subtitles)
	They are my teacher, my advisers, 
	like you.

			KATSUMOTO
		(subtitles)
	They advise in their own interest.

			EMPEROR
		(subtitles)
	The world is changing, Mori -- you 
	have not seen what goes on beyond 
	our borders, the inventions, the 
	science. I need men who can look 
	outward, or soon we will be left 
	behind, and defenseless.

			KATSUMOTO
		(subtitles)
	I am sworn to defend you even to my 
	last breath.

			EMPEROR
		(subtitles)
	The samurai live in the past. You 
	cannot defend against a future you 
	don't understand.

			KATSUMOTO
		(subtitles)
	If I am no use, then I will happily 
	end my life,

			EMPEROR
		(subtitles)
	No, Mori. It is my wish that you 
	rejoin the Council of State. I need 
	your voice.

			KATSUMOTO
		(subtitles)
	It is your voice that needs to be 
	heard, Highness. You are a living 
	God, you can do what ever you think 
	is right.

The young emperor is silent a moment.

			EMPEROR
		(subtitles)
	I am a living God only as long as I 
	do what they think is right.

			KATSUMOTO
		(subtitle)
	Your Highness, may I beg forgiveness 
	for saying what a teacher must, that 
	such a statement is pathetic drivel 
	not worthy of an ignorant stable 
	boy, let alone a young man I know to 
	have some modest intelligence.

The emperor laughs warmly, almost happy to be scolded as he 
once was.

			EMPEROR
		(subtitles)
	Is it possible a living God can be 
	too afraid to make his voice heard?
		(Katsumoto's look is 
		not unkind)
	Tell me what to do, Mori-San?

			KATSUMOTO
		(subtitles)
	You are emperor, my Lord, not me. 
	You must find the wisdom for all of 
	us.

EXT. YOKOHAMA WHARF - DAY

A series of warehouses, beyond which we see warships in the 
harbor. Algren walks with Bagley and two other OFFICERS.

INT. WAREHOUSE - DAY

The cavernous warehouse piled high with huge crates.

			BAGLEY
	As soon as they sign the agreement, 
	they're obligated to buy the entire 
	weapons package, from Colt revolvers 
	to Halliwell twelve-pounders. Plus 
	this particular item you might 
	recognize.

A few stevedores tear open one of the crates. Algren hides 
his astonishment:

A Gatling Gun is revealed.

			BAGLEY
	They've been calibrated to fire 200 
	rounds a minute, The new copper 
	cartridges cut down on jamming.

Algren closes his eyes, trying to keep his memories at bay.

EXT. - TOKYO STREETS - DAY

Algren fights the crowds with Colonel Bagley And Ambassador 
Swanbeck.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	May 15, 1877. The city I return to 
	is immeasurably changed. New 
	construction everywhere. Telegraph 
	wires strung next to an ancient 
	temple. A modern European hotel is 
	going up, dwarfing the traditional 
	Japanese buildings. Huge billboards 
	advertising Western goods. A new 
	invention, the rickshaw, has replaced 
	many of the palanquins. As though 
	Tokyo were determined to become 
	another New York or Chicago -- all 
	in one headlong rush.

Spider's web of telegraph cables spread from a tall new brick 
building.

It is like a New York office building stabbing into the heart 
of old Japan.

The familiar Omura character is emblazoned on the side.

INT. OFFICES OF THE OMURA ZAIBATSU - DAY

Aside from the occasional bit of Japanese decor, this could 
be a buzzing Wall Street firm.

Telegraph operators click away. Accountants use adding 
machines. Secretaries use pneumatic tubes to send documents 
back and forth. Engineers plot out railway lines. All are 
dressed in Western clothes.

Algren, Colonel Bagley, and Ambassador Swanbeck enter.

			AMBASSADOR SWANBECK
		(to Algren)
	If he asks, you can talk about 
	ordnance and tactics. But remember, 
	this has to do with a lot more than 
	just weapons.

An anteroom holds waiting delegations from the various 
European powers.

A babel of language... French... Dutch... Russian... German.

A pretty American secretary looks up from her desk.

			SECRETARY
	Ambassador Swanbeck, if you'll follow 
	me.

Some of the delegates are craning forward, watching Algren 
and the others hungrily as they head into the final office.

INT. OMURA'S OFFICE - DAY

Omura stands like an industrial titan before large picture 
windows offering a dramatic view of Tokyo.

The only decoration in the room is an enormous Caravaggio.

			OMURA
	Please, sit down, gentlemen.

Omura removes a gold cigarette case and lights up. Cigarettes 
are the newest Western fad Sweeping Japan.

			OMURA
		(re: cigarette case)
	A gift from Czar Alexander... Captain 
	Algren, it seems you have endured 
	your captivity with little ill-effect.

			ALGREN
	Yes, sir.

			OMURA
	He's an extraordinary man, isn't he?

			ALGREN
	He is samurai.

Omura gazes at him. Slowly takes a puff from his cigarette.

			AMBASSADOR SWANBECK
	Mr. Omura, my people have been drawing 
	up the documents we discussed. I 
	have a draft --

			OMURA
	We're not quite ready to announce 
	the treaty, Ambassador.

			AMBASSADOR SWANBECK
	Excuse me?

			OMURA
	The Emperor is... sentimental. 
	Katsumoto was his old mentor -- he 
	is not eager to offend him. It will 
	take I few more days.

			AMBASSADOR SWANBECK
	How many days is... a few?"

			OMURA
	I assure you the Samurai will not 
	stand in the way of our agreement. 
	You are prepared to make delivery?

			AMBASSADOR SWANBECK
	Soon as your Emperor signs on the 
	dotted line.

			OMURA
	Captain Algren you are the expert. 
	Will this array of ordnance be 
	sufficient?

			ALGREN
	Depends on what you're trying to 
	accomplish.

			OMURA
	I want my country to take its place 
	as a modern power.

			ALGREN
	Then they will set you well on your 
	way.

			OMURA
	I am pleased.

			AMBASSADOR SWANBECK
	Mr. Omura, you assured us you had 
	the influence with your emperor to 
	make this deal come to pass. With 
	all due respect perhaps there is 
	someone else we should be speaking 
	to.

			OMURA
	With all due respect, Ambassador, 
	perhaps there is someone else we 
	should be speaking to, for instance 
	the French. Or the English. Or any 
	of the legations waiting in the next 
	room.

Ambassador Swanbeck stands swallowing his rage.

			AMBASSADOR SWANBECK
	Yes, well, we look forward to hearing 
	from you.

			OMURA
	Good afternoon, gentlemen.

They start to go.

			OMURA
	Captain Algren, perhaps you can stay 
	a moment and tell me of your 
	experiences in our rebellious 
	provinces.

Bagley looks at Algren. Do as he asks. He leaves Algren alone 
with Omura.

			OMURA
	Cigarette?

			ALGREN
	Thank you.

Omura lights his cigarette. A moment as he takes Algren's 
measure.

			OMURA
	You fought bravely on behalf of our 
	army, against the rebel Katsumoto.

Algren says nothing.

			OMURA
	And yet you helped save his life 
	when attacked by the Ninja.

			ALGREN
	My role was much less significant 
	than you may have heard.

			OMURA
	Tell me about your role in Katsumoto's 
	plans.

			ALGREN
	I have none.

			OMURA
	And your sympathies?

			ALGREN
	Again, I have none.

			OMURA
	I know you have little sympathy for 
	Colonel Bagley.

			ALGREN
	He is... unsympathetic.

Omura smiles.

			OMURA
	I thought it was we who are 
	inscrutable.

Now it is Algren who smiles.

			OMURA
	You have gained important knowledge 
	of Katsumoto's province, his army, 
	and his rebellion. This is extremely 
	valuable to me.

He watches Algren to see how this lands.

			OMURA
	You also possess significant knowledge 
	of my army, my weaponry, and my plans. 
	This is extremely valuable to 
	Katsumoto.

			ALGREN
	Again, you flatter me.

			OMURA
	No. I am a businessman. I recognize 
	what is valuable. And I buy it.
		(looks at him)
	In this case, I value your loyalty.

Algren considers the implications of what Omura is saying.

			ALGREN
	I didn't know loyalty was something 
	that could be sold.

			OMURA
	Then perhaps you will give it, as a 
	token of future friendship -- for 
	which, as a friend, I would be in 
	your debt.

			ALGREN
		(stands)
	Then I will consider it.

			OMURA
	And I will be grateful.

INT. SHIPPING OFFICE - DAY

Algren is in a shipping office. A clerk consults his schedule 
of departure.

			CLERK
	All righteee, the ANDREW JACKSON 
	leaves tomorrow -- if you want a 
	steamship you'll have to wait six 
	weeks.
		(Algren is silent)
	Gets ya to Frisco by the 28th. 14 
	dollars for a private cabin, 8 for a 
	shared or 3 for a lower berth. What 
	can I put you down for?

Algren is silent, concentrating on a calendar hanging behind 
the clerk. It features a beautiful Hiroshigi watercolor of 
mountains.

			CLERK
	Sir...?

			ALGREN
		(after a moment)
	Private cabin.

EXT. TOKYO - STREET - DAY

Graham walks with Algren.

			GRAHAM
	Leave? Why would you leave now? No 
	white man has ever been in your 
	position. Do you have any idea what 
	it will mean to have Omura as your 
	friend? You want land, you want women, 
	you want boys?

Algren starts to walk faster, but Graham stops him.

			GRAHAM
	Nathan. I wanted to leave, too. For 
	three years. You must believe me 
	there is a majesty about these people -- 
	can you imagine what your own country 
	would be if it had half the drive 
	and the discipline and the belief 
	and the bravery of these ridiculous 
	little people?

Then raised voices from across the street stop them.

They see Yoritomo surrounded by four Imperial Army soldiers. 
The soldiers are rough and imperious, drunk with power. They 
carry gleaming rifles.

The soldiers bark orders. Yoritomo stands proudly, responding 
calmly.

			ALGREN
	What is this?

			GRAHAM
	My God, it's the edicts...

			ALGREN
	What edicts?

Algren arrives as the situation is clearly growing volatile -- 
the soldiers are pointing to Yoritomo's head, screaming.

Algren steps toward the soldiers --

			ALGREN
	That's enough --

One of the soldiers SCREAMS at him -- raises his rifle -- 
all the soldiers raise their rifles.

Yoritomo reaches for his sword -- Algren tries to push through --

			ALGREN
		(subtitles)
	YORITOMO, WAIT!

One of the soldiers smacks Algren in the chin with a rifle 
butt. Algren reels, and by the time he stands straight again, 
four others are pointing their bayonets at his face.

Graham takes hold of Algren's arm.

			GRAHAM
	Don't be stupid.

Algren makes eye contact with Yoritomo, who -- in deference 
to his friend -- puts his sword away.

The Japanese soldiers continue to scream at Yoritomo. They 
force him to his knees.

Rifles pressed to his head.

Yoritomo bows his bead, speaking quietly, as if praying.

Algren witches in horror all one of the soldiers removes his 
bayonet -- another grabs Yoritomo's hair, jerks his head 
back and begins hacking off Yoritomo's traditional top-knot 
of hair. Brutally. Blood.

Yoritomo remains kneeling, head down, blood flowing down his 
face.

The soldiers laugh and move off.

Algren kneels by Yoritomo. Yoritomo looks up at him. There 
are tears in his eyes.

EXT. KATSUMOTO'S HOUSE - DUSK

Katsumoto's house on the outskirts of Tokyo is spacious and 
harmonious. Utterly Japanese. Samurai guards in full regalia,  
stand menacingly outside.

INT. KATSUMOTO'S HOUSE - DUSK

Ujio kneels with Yoritomo, dressing the wounds on his head.

Graham sits across the room talking quietly to the mammoth 
Nakao, taking notes in a small notebook. Nakao has been 
brutally shorn of his top knot as well. His shame is apparent.

INT. KATSUMOTO'S CHAMBER - DUSK

Servants help dress Katsumoto in his exacting samurai wardrobe 
as Algren is ushered in.

			KATSUMOTO
	Captain, I had not thought to see 
	you again.

			ALGREN
	I'm leaving tomorrow. But before I 
	go I need to tell you what's going 
	on here.

			KATSUMOTO
	You mean the Gatling Guns and the 
	howitzers, is that how you say it?

			ALGREN
	They're about to close a trade 
	agreement that will bring this country 
	more weapons than you can imagine.

			KATSUMOTO
	Yes, if the emperor agrees -- but 
	Omura knows the Emperor must be 
	convinced there is cause to need 
	those weapons before be will sign.

			ALGREN
		(realizing)
	And you are to be the cause...

			KATSUMOTO
	Elegant, isn't it? Omura passes laws 
	sure to cause a samurai revolt, 
	creating a need for the weapons. The 
	Emperor sees that the weapons are 
	needed so he agrees to the entire 
	treaty, giving your country what it 
	wants and the Omura Zaibatsu what it 
	wants. And my country is sold to 
	yours.

As Katsumoto dresses, Algren notes that Katsumoto's body is 
a battleground of old scars, so like his own.

			KATSUMOTO
	Today the Council passed two edicts. 
	The first called for the elimination 
	of our traditional topknots.

			ALGREN
	I know.

			KATSUMOTO
	The second banned the wearing of 
	sword.

Algren stops. He knows what swords mean to the samurai.

			KATSUMOTO
		(re: his swords)
	Hand them to me, will you?

Algren picks up Katsumoto's two swords. Looks at him deeply.

			ALGREN
	If you do this, they will kill you.

			KATSUMOTO
	I am hard to kill.

			ALGREN
	You don't know what their weapons 
	can do. All your men butchered... 
	Just for pride.

			KATSUMOTO
	Not for pride. For the Emperor.

			ALGREN
	But the Emperor is the one signing 
	the agreement.

			KATSUMOTO
	He has not signed it yet.

He holds out Katsumoto's two samurai swords.

			ALGREN
	Is it worth it?... just for these.

			KATSUMOTO
	I cannot live without my soul... Can 
	you?

They regard each other.

EXT. OUTSIDE KATSUMOTO'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Algren leaves Katsumoto's gate and sets off on foot.

EXT. TOKYO STREETS - NIGHT

As Algren walks, he becomes aware that he is being followed. 
Two dark figures lurk some distance behind him. After a few 
moments, he whips around to face them. They stand for a 
moment, then melt away into the shadows.

INT. COUNCIL OF STATE CHAMBER - NIGHT

The Council of State meets in an august chamber. Many of the 
Council members wear Western clothes. Cigarette smoke billows.

The young Emperor sits on a dais off to the side, as befits 
his ceremonial role in the proceedings.

Omura is speaking... he stops... looking at something... all 
the Council members turn... and gape.

Katsumoto strides into the chamber, his swords proudly 
displayed.

			OMURA
		(subtitled)
	Minister Katsumoto, you honor us.

			KATSUMOTO
		(subtitled)
	It is my honor to join again the men 
	who are leading Japan into her 
	glorious future.

			OMURA
		(subtitled)
	You are perhaps unaware of this 
	Council's edict regarding the wearing 
	of swords?

			KATSUMOTO
		(subtitled)
	I read every edict with singular 
	attention.

			OMURA
		(subtitled)
	Yet you would bring weapons into 
	this chamber?

			KATSUMOTO
		(subtitled)
	This chamber was protected by my 
	sword for four hundred years --

			OMURA
		(interrupting, 
		subtitled)
	We need no protection. We are a nation 
	of laws now.

			KATSUMOTO
		(calm, subtitled)
	We are a nation of whores. Selling 
	ourselves to our Western "allies."

Katsumoto slowly looks around at the Members of the Council, 
but his words are addressed to the Emperor.

			KATSUMOTO
		(subtitled)
	Does Japan no longer need its 
	patriots?

Omura speaks with quiet conviction and honesty.

			OMURA
		(subtitled)
	Who is the patriot? The man who would 
	keep his country trapped in the past, 
	or the man who would help his people 
	into the future?

			KATSUMOTO
		(subtitled)
	A future with no honor.

			OMURA
		(subtitled)
	Honor means less to me than feeding 
	our children. And teaching them. And 
	giving them modern medicine so they 
	will live.

			KATSUMOTO
	And lining your own pockets in the 
	process.

They stare at one another with barely concealed hostility.

			OMURA
		(subtitled)
	Minister Katsumoto, it is with great 
	regret that I ask you to remove your 
	sword, as this body has declared in 
	its edict.

Katsumoto's hand closes on his sword hilt

			KATSUMOTO
	This sword serves the Emperor, and 
	only he can command me to remove it.

Katsumoto looks to the Emperor, as murmurs fill the room.

			OMURA
		(quickly)
	Ah, but it is our tradition that the 
	Emperor's voice is too pure and great 
	to be heard in such worldly 
	circumstance as the Council of State.

One last time, Katsumoto meets the Emperor's eye.

			KATSUMOTO
	Then, with great regret, I must refuse 
	to give up my sword.

Omura looks to his associates, and a silent decision is made.

			OMURA
	Minister Katsumoto, I must invite 
	you to accompany our soldiers to 
	Himeji Castle, where you will be our 
	honored guest. I think you will find 
	the surroundings there quite 
	harmonious.

Guards with Mauser rifles move into position around Katsumoto. 
He turns to the other Council members. Looks at them.

			KATSUMOTO
		(subtitled)
	Brothers... One day you will know 
	what you have done and feel what I 
	never will... shame.

Omura nods to the guards. The guards lead Katsumoto out.

EXT. LIVING QUARTERS - AFTERNOON

A BEARER is loading the last of Algren's luggage on the back 
of a rickshaw.

Algren emerges from the building, sees the same two 
disreputable MEN who followed him earlier lurking nearby.

He resists the temptation to confront them. Instead he climbs 
into the rickshaw and it starts off.

But a moment later, Graham has jogged alongside, huffing and 
puffing.

			GRAHAM
	Thought I'd missed you. Were you 
	going to leave without even saying 
	goodbye?

			ALGREN
	I have a fear of sentimental 
	Englishmen.

			GRAHAM
	You sod.
		(trying to keep up)
	Christ, give us a second here

Algren indicates for the bearer to stop. Graham tries to 
catch his breath.

			GRAHAM
	You're making a mistake, I promise 
	you. Katsumoto's under house arrest, 
	Omura's made his move --  he'll need 
	you more than ever --

Graham stops, sees the look on Algren's face, realizes.

			GRAHAM
	Oh, my goodness. How silly of me. 
	All that time you were with him, up 
	in those mountains -- I told you 
	they were a remarkable people...

Algren doesn't answer, but isn't denying it either.

			GRAHAM
	Then you should get out. Because 
	Omura will become rather impatient 
	with anyone who isn't on the team.

Graham notices Algren staring at his followers.

			GRAHAM
	Case in point.

			ALGREN
	Who are they?

			GRAHAM
	Ronin would be my guess. Disgraced 
	samurai doing odd jobs for his meals.

			ALGREN
	What do they want from me?

			GRAHAM
	To make sure you're on the side of 
	God and Country, or to make sure you 
	get the hell out.

			ALGREN
	You've been a great help, Graham. I 
	thank you.

			GRAHAM
	Look who's getting sentimental now.

A look between them, then Algren nods for the bearer to 
continue.

EXT. HARBOR - SUNSET

Algren stands at the gangplank. Porters wait with his luggage. 
Algren looks back into the crowd and sees the Ronin. They 
glare back, no longer trying to keep out of sight.

A BLAST from the steam whistle.

Algren looks from the ship, to the Ronin, to the bustling, 
chaotic city behind them. Finally, he looks out at the harbor 
and the ocean, beyond which used to lie his home.

He turns to the bearer.

			ALGREN
		(subtitles)
	Take back to quarters. I walk.

And Algren starts back into the city.

EXT. TOKYO STREETS - EVENING

Down a shadowy street, lit only by torches. Slowly we realize 
he is being followed and that he knows it.

Up ahead, the street appears to dead-end.

The two Ronin step out from the shadows and face him, their 
hands on their swords.

Behind him, another dangerous looking Ronin joins the one 
who has been following him.

They begin to close in.

Algren stands completely still. They grow closer.

Algren appears to close his eyes. And the sound of the 
approaching footsteps fades as we HEAR ONLY the sound of his 
breathing.

The Ronin draw their swords.

Algren gently opens his eyes. Everything has SLOWED DOWN: a 
sign in the breeze, a piece of rubbish on the street, the 
flame of a nearby torch.

A BLUR OF MOTION.

Everything happens so fast it is hard to tell just what has 
taken place. In the strobing shadows, all we really know is 
that Algren has leapt to the attack.

Within seconds, four bodies lie in the street Algren holds a 
bloody sword.

His face is cut and a sleeve of his jacket is ripped, but 
other than that he is unharmed. Ujio has taught him well. As 
he stands, catching his breath, we HOLD on his face in CLOSE-
UP.

A SUDDEN FLASH:

We see Algren grab one of the torches and smash it across 
the Ronin's face.

It is the attack -- replayed in real-time.

Rolling to avoid a death-blow, he grabs the fallen man's 
sword and eviscerates attacker #2.

The two remaining Ronin strike.

He parries the blow of attacker #3, whirls to slice the legs 
of attacker #4, whirls again to cut off the hand of attacker 
#1, who has returned to the attack.

Meanwhile, attacker #3 turns and charges -- just as attacker 
#4 is trying to stand.

Algren steps back as attacker #3 impales attacker #4. Algren 
steps forward and cuts off the head of attacker #3.

Even now, it has happened too fast to be truly appreciated.

BACK TO THE STREET

We move, closer-still on Algren's face.

A SUDDEN FLASH:

And so we watch the attack again. in super-slow motion now, 
so we can fully appreciate it.s terrible beauty.

A torch smashes across a face.

A sword slices the sleeve of a coat.

Sparks fly as two swords meet.

A severed hand falls in the dirt.

Blood sprays from a decapitated head.

A sword is wiped clean.

BACK TO THE STREET

In real time, Algren kneels to examine one of the dead Ronin. 
On his arm is tattooed a familiar emblem: The sign of the 
Omura Zaibatsu

EXT. OMURA CASTLE - NIGHT

Omura lives in a huge medieval castle on a promontory directly 
above Tokyo Bay. A testament to Japan's martial past.

INT. CASTLE - TOWER - NIGHT

Two guards are standing at attention in a dank corridor high 
in one of the towers of the castle. Cell doors line the 
corridor.

Katsumoto's samurai swords lean against the wall next to 
them.

INT. CASTLE - CELL - NIGHT

Katsumoto kneels in a cramped cell. A sound draws his 
attention. He rises and looks out a barred window.

Below he sees two rickshaws moving up the twisting road to 
the castle.

INT. RICKSHAW - NIGHT

Algren and Bagley, in formal dress uniforms, sit in one of 
the rickshaws.

Bagley looks him over.

			BAGLEY
	Oughtta shave more often, Algren. 
	Becomes you.

			ALGREN
	Thought I would follow the Japanese 
	fashion.

			BAGLEY
	...Heard you were leaving, actually?

			ALGREN
	Why would I do that? Omura wants me 
	to train his personal guard.

			BAGLEY
	Certainly seems obsessed by you. Why 
	do you think that is?

			ALGREN
	Could it be my nose isn't permanently 
	lodged up his ass?

Bagley shakes his bead, turns away. Algren stares up at the 
looming aide.

EXT. CASTLE - MAIN GATES - NIGHT

The two rickshaws stop by the heavily-guarded main gates. 
Guards check the occupants. Motions to other guards atop the 
gates.

The main gates slowly swing open.

EXT. CASTLE - COURT YARD - NIGHT

The bearers lower the rickshaws. Algren and Bagley climb 
from one.

Ambassador Swanbeck climbs from the other.

EXT. CASTLE - RECEPTION CHAMBER - NIGHT

Omura waits in elegant evening clothes. A woman plays a harp. 
The interior of Omura's castle is heavy, oppressive. Old 
Masters paintings dot the walls. Leather-bound books. 
Chippendale furniture.

			OMURA
	Gentlemen...

			AMBASSADOR SWANBECK
	Omura, you have a lovely home. It 
	must be very old.

			OMURA
	Nothing is "old" in Japan, everything 
	is "ancient." ...But the views are 
	pleasant. Sit down...

They move to chairs by the roaring fireplace as Omura turns 
to Algren, noticing the cut on his face, but saying nothing.

			OMURA
	Do you know your Wagner, Captain? 
	This is the 'Leibestod' from Tristan 
	and Isolde.

			ALGREN
	I'm surprised you enjoy it. Literally 
	translated it means "love/death."
		(looks at him)
	A samurai concept, don't you think?

The two men take each other's measures. Servants appear with 
trays..

			OMURA
	Champagne? And cigars, of course.

Servants light their cigars.

			BAGLEY
		(re: cigar)
	A gift from President Grant?

			OMURA
		(smiles)
	Queen Victoria.

			ALGREN
	Mr. Omura, may I use the necessity?

			OMURA
	Certainly.

Omura summons a servant. The servant escorts Algren out.

			OMURA
	Now, Mr. Swanbeck, regarding our 
	agreement, I noticed a discrepancy 
	in paragraph seven in reference to 
	the investment protocols for coal.

INT. CASTLE - CORRIDOR - NIGHT

The servant leads Algren through a corridor, head bowed.

Then, still puffing on his cigar, Algren taps the servant on 
the back, and as the man turns, decks him. The servant falls. 
Algren flicks his cigar out onto the sloping roof. We FOLLOW 
the BURNING EMBER as it rolls off the roof and lands at the 
feet of TWO CURIOUS GUARDS.

EXT. CASTLE COURTYARD - NIGHT

The guards look up, trying to determine where the cigar butt 
has come from.

But their curiosity lasts only a moment: ARROWS pierce their 
necks, strangling any sound.

We REVERSE to discover that one of the rickshaw-bearers has 
fired the arrows. As he peels back his hood, we SEE it is 
Yoritomo.

We realize the other bearers are Ujio, Nakao, and Simon 
Graham. They hurry past the dead guards and up the stairs.

INT. CASTLE APPROACH - NIGHT

The three samurai and Graham race up the winding parapets.

Three GUARDS round a corner. Swords flash as Ujio and Nakao 
dispatch them without even slowing. They race on, Graham 
laboring to keep up.

INT. CASTLE KEEP - NIGHT

Algren rounds a corner.

Ujio, Yoritomo, Nakao, and Graham are moving toward him.

			ALGREN
	This way.

Clearly, this has all been Algren's plan. They move up a 
stairway.

INT. CASTLE KEEP (SECOND FLOOR) - NIGHT

The three guards are still standing at attention outside 
Katsumoto's cell.

His swords are next to them.

Algren keeps the others out of sight and lowers his head to 
whisper with Ujio. Ujio nods, then walks into sight and calmly 
approaches the guards.

Still hidden, Algren gestures for the others remain to silent. 
After a moment, he gestures that they can proceed.

Algren and the others round the comer to discover the bloody 
remains of the three guards -- whom Ujio has dispatched in 
absolute silence. They unlock the cell.

INT. CASTLE - CELL - FOLLOWING

Katsumoto is shocked to see Algren enter. Algren tosses him 
his swords.

			ALGREN
	How's the poem coming?

			KATSUMOTO
	The ending is proving difficult.

INT. CASTLE - RECEPTION CHAMBER - NIGHT

Omura glances up from the documents.

			OMURA
	What has become of Captain Algren?

INT. CASTLE - CORRIDOR - NIGHT

Algren, Katsumoto, and the others race through an upper 
corridor.

			KATSUMOTO
		(re:Graham)
	Who is this?

			ALGREN
	Name's Simon Graham. Wants to write 
	a book about you.

			GRAHAM
	An honor. I have followed your 
	activities with great interest. I 
	think the European public would be 
	fascinated by a book about your 
	adventures.

			KATSUMOTO
	Not a book. A play!

Suddenly, from below, the raised voices of guards. They hurry 
away.

INT. CASTLE - STAIRS - NIGHT

Guards carrying pikes race up the stairs --

INT. CASTLE - CORRIDOR - NIGHT

Algren and the others are moving swiftly down a stone 
corridor.

The sound of the approaching guards is growing louder.

A silent WILD BUNCH moment of preparation as they stride 
down the corridor, five abreast.

Algren pulls the cavalry saber from his dress uniform. 
Katsumoto prepares his swords. Nakao stretches his huge arms. 
Yoritomo and Ujio draw their bows.

EXT. CASTLE - UPPER COURTYARD - FOLLOWING

Ten guards with rifles patrol the upper battlements.

Yoritomo and Ujio crouch and fire. Arrow after arrow after 
arrow, as fast as a repeating  rifle, the arrows streak 
through the night.

Completely silent.

It is a dazzling display. They time shots to sail over walls, 
shoot through tiny windows, shoot out torches. Multiple 
arrows. Perfect aim.

In a matter of seconds all ten guards are dead.

They continue across the courtyard, up some steps --

INT. CASTLE - TIGHT CORRIDOR - FOLLOWING

They stride through a tight, dark stone corridor.

Suddenly, a cadre of Omura guards emerge from the shadows.

Without hesitation, they launch into battle. Algren and 
Katsumoto wield their swords. Yoritomo and Ujio fire arrows.

Nakao fights with his hands, dramatic martial arts from the 
huge man.

But this corridor is just too tight -- it is a sea of 
combat... the guards and our warriors are slammed together --
the swords and pikes sending up sparks in the darkness as 
they strike the stone walls.

The right corridor echoes with samurai war cries and clanging 
swords.

Then...

More guards appear.

These guards have rifles.

Rifle blasts thunder -- startling strobe-like bursts of light 
in the darkness --

Algren dives in front of Katsumoto to protect him --

Yoritomo is hit --

He jerks back -- blood --

Ujio fires arrows at the guards with rifles, hitting two -- 
but more guards with rifles are appearing, bullets sending 
showers of debris and ricochets --

Algren sees a stairway leading to a higher level, barks out 
a command. As Nakao drags Yoritomo toward the stairs -- the 
others bolt a heavy SIEGE DOOR, designed to keep attackers 
at bay.

INT. CASTLE SIEGE ROOM - NIGHT

Ujio fires arrows through the siege ports -- momentarily 
delaying the guards as Algren leads them toward a rear stairs.

INT. REAR STAIRS - NIGHT

Algren starts down -- only to discover MORE GUARDS blocking 
this means of escape. He backs out of the way just in time 
as rifle blasts SPLINTER the wooden stairwell.

Meanwhile, an EXPLOSION from behind them indicates that the 
guards have blown the siege door.

Algren, Graham, and Ujio have no choice but to continue 
upwards into the castle keep. Nakao helps the wounded Yoritomo 
as they climb.

INT. UPPER KEEP - NIGHT

A narrow ladder leads to the final redoubt. They start to 
climb but Yoritomo leans against the wall. He is gravely 
wounded.

			ALGREN
	Come on.

			YORITOMO
		(subtitled)
	You go, Algren-san. I will stop them.

			ALGREN
	No --

			YORITOMO
	...Please.

Yoritomo's determination is absolute. Finally, Algren nods.

Katsumoto moves to Yoritomo, leans in for a few final words, 
taking his head and pressing his forehead to Yoritomo's.

Bullets begin ricocheting around them -- Yoritomo looks to 
Algren:

			YORITOMO
		(subtitled)
	Tell my family.

Algren bows his bead in respect.

Then Algren leads them up the stairs. Ujio fires a final 
volley, nods with respect to Yoritomo, then follows the 
others.

Yoritomo pulls himself erect. Draws his two samurai swords.

A beat. He closes his eyes. Smiles.

Then he opens his eyes and hurls himself down the stairs --

The guards fire hitting Yoritomo -- but still he comes -- 
wading into them, swords flashing -- he is hit again and 
again -- but still he comes.

It is a glorious death.

EXT. SIEGE ROOM - NIGHT

Algren leads them into the highest room of the castle, the 
siege room. The echoes Yoritomo's death rings in their ears.

Katsumoto glances at Ujio and Nakao. Without a word, they 
kneel on the floor, open their kimonos and unsheathe their 
short-swords, preparing to commit seppuku.

			ALGREN
	No. Wait...!

Katsumoto glares at him harshly, furious to have his 
concentration disturbed at such a moment.

			ALGREN
	There's a way out. Look --!

Reluctantly, Katsumoto joins him at the window.

			ALGREN
	This place is designed to keep people 
	from getting in, not from getting 
	out. We can make it

			KATSUMOTO
	This was your plan?

			ALGREN
	Do you have a better one?

Nakao and Ujio look at Katsumoto, awaiting his response. He 
turns to Algren.

			ALGREN
	I may die. But I'll die trying.

And without another word he LAUNCHES himself out the window, 
onto the sloping roof.

EXT. CASTLE ROOF TOPS - NIGHT

Like his cigar butt earlier in the sequence, he rolls, then 
falls, hits another roof, rolls, slides, falls, hits again.

INT. UPPER KEEP - CONTINUOUS

Katsumoto and the others share a look. Has he survived?

GUNFIRE begins to pepper the floorboards, bullets whistling 
past them.

EXT. CASTLE ROOF TOPS - CONTINUOUS

Algren slides, bumps, rolls, falls, hits, then slides again. 
Until he finally plummets into the moat.

As his head rises above water, he lets out a scream of 
absolute joy.

INT. UPPER KEEP - CONTINUOUS

Katsumoto hears the scream. A look of disbelief spreads over 
his face.

Then the beginnings of a smile. Without a second look, be 
leaps out the window. Ujio follows.

Graham shrinks away in fear. Nakao lifts him bodily, throws 
him out, and then follows.

INT. CASTLE - RECEPTION CHAMBER - LATER

Omura stands, very calm, smoking a cigarette, listening to 
the report of his guards.

Colonel Bagley tries to apologize.

			BAGLEY
	...I don't know what to say, sir. I 
	never would have thought him capable 
	of treason.

			OMURA
	I would say Captain Algren's acts 
	tonight have assured our success.

			AMBASSADOR SWANBECK
	What do you mean?

			OMURA
	Katsumoto will rejoin his kinsmen. 
	They will fight. We will destroy 
	them with your new weapons.

			BAGLEY
	What if he just goes off to the 
	mountains and becomes a damn sheep-
	herder or some such?

			OMURA
	You still do not understand us... 
	Katsumoto can do nothing but fight. 
	It is his role in the drama. He must 
	act out his destiny. He knows it.

			AMBASSADOR SWANBECK
	You trust a lot in destiny.

			OMURA
	This story was written years ago. 
	From the first sight of your warships 
	in our harbor...
		(stares out the window)
	It is all inevitable.

EXT. HILLS - SUNSET

Algren, Katsumoto, and the others ride over rocky ground.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	June 1, 1877. Yesterday, I passed 
	the field where Zebulon Gant was 
	killed by the man with whom I now 
	ride.

In the distance a steam train chugs along. Inevitable. 
Progress.

EXT. FOREST - MOUNTAINS - DAY

They climb a steep trail. Beyond, the glaciers glow pink.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	I am beset by ironies -- trained to 
	fight rebels, now I am one. And yet 
	I ask myself... can a man be reborn?

Algren, Katsumoto, and the others ride through a dense forest. 
Katsumoto reins his horse. The others follow suit. They wait

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	And if so, what would he make of it?

Mounted samurai emerge from the thick forest as if they were 
invisible.

The leader leaps from his horse and bows, touching his head 
to the dirt.

All the other samurai follow suit.

EXT. CHERRY TREE FOREST - NEAR THE VILLAGE - EVENING

Katsumoto rides at the head of his samurai as they pass 
through the cherry orchard. Then he reins his horse and falls 
in beside Algren.

			KATSUMOTO
		(his voice troubled)
	I was prepared to die in Omura's 
	castle. And yet here I am. I cannot 
	help but ask why were you sent into 
	my life. What is the lesson you were 
	meant to give me?

			ALGREN
	Maybe that neither of us is as smart 
	as we thought...

Katsumoto laugh. And then in a surprisingly deft imitation 
of Algren...

			KATSUMOTO
	You... ain't whistlin' Dixie...

He spurs his horse and heads off. Algren shakes his head and 
follows.

EXT. VILLAGE - EVENING

The returning warriors are warmly welcomed by the villagers.

Algren rides directly to Yoritomo's house, dismounts.

Taka and Toshiie are waiting.

He goes to them. His expression tells them all they need to 
know.

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Algren sits with the family. The boys sit next to their 
mother.

			ALGREN
		(subtitles)
	...he gave his life to save us. He 
	died bravely.

			TAKA
		(subtitles)
	Thank you, Algren-San.

			HIGEN
		(subtitles)
	Will you fight the white men?

			ALGREN
		(subtitles)
	If they come here, yes.

			HIGEN
		(subtitles)
	Why?

			ALGREN
		(subtitles)
	Because they come to destroy what I 
	have come to love.

Taka looks at him, moved and surprised. Suddenly, Higen jumps 
up and bolts... out of the room. Algren looks to Taka.

			TAKA
		(subtitles)
	The way of Samurai is difficult for 
	children. He misses his father.

			ALGREN
	And he is angry because I am the 
	cause of that.

She smiles ever so slightly at his obliviousness.

			TAKA
	No. He it angry because he fears you 
	will die as well.

EXT. VILLAGE - NIGHT

Higen stands, looking up at the stars.

			ALGREN
	Higen.

			HIGEN
		(subtitles)
	My father taught me it is glorious 
	to die in battle.

			ALGREN
		(subtitles)
	That is what he believed.

			HIGEN
		(subtitles)
	I would be afraid to die in battle.

			ALGREN
		(subtitles)
	So would I.

			HIGEN
		(subtitles)
	But you have been in many battles.

			ALGREN
		(subtitles)
	And I was always afraid.

Higen looks at him, tears welling in his eyes.

			HIGEN
		(subtitles)
	I don't want you to go.

Algren has no answer. He can only gather the boy up in his 
arms and hold him.

EXT. VILLAGE - DAY

Nakao is standing proudly, his massive arms folded across 
his chest. We pull back: Graham is bunched behind his 
photographic equipment. A flash of phosphorous and the moment 
is immortalized.

Meanwhile, Algren is working with Higen on the house.

Katsumoto silently watches Algren working with the boy.

			KATSUMOTO
	Algren-san.

Algren turns.

			KATSUMOTO
	They are corning.

EXT. MOUNTAINS - DAY

Algren and Katsumoto perch on a precipice, looking down into 
a valley.

It is a beautiful setting. Towering peaks and peaceful 
valleys. It is here that the final act of the inevitable 
drama will play out.

Below they see the Imperial Army, thousands strong, marching 
across the valley toward them. Terrifying martial columns in 
strict formation.

			ALGREN
	I call it five thousand troops. 
	They'll come in waves of about a 
	thousand, a few minutes between each 
	wave.

Katsumoto listens carefully to Algren's expertise.

			ALGREN
	German formations have the infantry 
	staggered with only light flanking. 
	They'll come straight on with rifles 
	and fixed bayonets. Mausers are only 
	accurate to about 150 yards. They'll 
	look to overthrow us.

Katsumoto takes this in.

EXT. VALLEY - DAY

Colonel Bagley, Omura, several German advisors and Japanese 
officers ride at the head of the Imperial Army.

Bagley sees something, raises a hand. The troops halt.

Algren and Katsumoto ride up to them. Stop.

			ALGREN
	Colonel.

			BAGLEY
	Captain...
		(To Katsumoto)
	...Sir, the Imperial Army of Japan 
	demands your surrender. If you and 
	your fellows lay down your arms you 
	will not be harmed.

			KATSUMOTO
	That is not possible. As Omura knows.

Omura meets Katsumoto's look, nods. Bagley turns to Algren.

			BAGLEY
	Captain Algren, we will show no 
	quarter. You ride against us and you 
	are the same as they are.

			ALGREN
	I take that as a compliment, Colonel.
		(a deadly calm)
	I'll look for you on the field.

Algren and Katsumoto wheel their horses and go.

EXT. MOUNTAIN RIDGE - DAY

Algren and Katsumoto ride.

			ALGREN
	They have the howitzers.

			KATSUMOTO
	How many?

			ALGREN
	About a dozen.

Katsumoto considers this. Algren looks up into the mountains.

			ALGREN
	A man could get lost up there... 
	Build an army. Hold out a very long 
	time.

			KATSUMOTO
	Algren-San... Have you seen what 
	happens to the villages that stand 
	in the way of the railroad?

Algren nods. He remembers.

			KATSUMOTO
	That is what will happen to my village 
	if we do not stand and fight.
		(looks at him)
	No. We serve the Emperor here.

			ALGREN
	By dying?

			KATSUMOTO
	Perhaps.

			ALGREN
	At least make it battle, not a 
	suicide.

			KATSUMOTO
	And what would that accomplish?

Algren lifts his head, enjoying the feeling of the sun and 
wind on his face.

			ALGREN
	It might give you one more day... 
	One more fine day like this.

Katsumoto stares at him for a long moment, then smiles and 
spurs his horse. Algren follows.

They ride together, side by aide, the wind billowing their 
cloaks -- We enjoy the ride as they do, the trees strobing 
by, the sun slanting through the leaves.

EXT. VILLAGE - NIGHT

It is the eve of battle. And the samurai rejoice.

Katsumoto is on stage at the center of the village square, 
enthusiastically performing a Noh drama. Algren sits with 
Toshiie and Taka in the audience, enjoying Katsumoto's 
theatrics.

Other samurai can be seen around the village, eating, singing, 
and playing instruments. Tonight is for celebrating life.

Elsewhere, a flash as Graham takes a photograph of some 
children.

On the stage, Katsumoto spots Algren in the audience, points 
to him and encourages him to join him. Algren resists. Toshiie 
prods him. Algren surrenders and joins Katsumoto on the stage. 
The villagers are delighted.

Katsumoto embroils Algren in the performance. Algren does 
his best, laughing at Katsumoto's antics.

It is the freest and happiest we have ever seen Algren. Time 
SLOWS as we savor his simple enjoyment. Toshiie is highly 
amused. Taka has a deeper response, she is moved as she 
watches Algren give himself over to the part.

EXT. VILLAGE - LATER THAT NIGHT

A somber mood has descended. Algren sits and writes in his 
journal.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	July 14, 1877. For so long now, I 
	have managed to convince myself that 
	there was nothing worth believing 
	in.

A samurai plays a melancholy bamboo flute. The gentle sound 
floats through the village...

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	Certainly nothing worth dying for.

We see samurai preparing for the final battle. Some check 
their armor... Others meditate...

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	Now I am not so sure.

Some make up their faces so they will look handsome when 
they greet death.

Some methodically polish their swords. Some sit with their 
families.

			ALGREN (V.O.)
	And so, for the first time in my 
	life, I am truly afraid. Not of dying. 
	But of losing something worth living 
	for.

Ujio is performing a graceful, ritualistic sword-dance to 
the song of the flute.

Algren Joins Graham to watch him.

			GRAHAM
	What is it?

			ALGREN
	The kenbu... his dance of death.

Taka comes to them.

			TAKA
		(subtitles)
	Algren-san, will you come with me?

Algren leaves Graham and accompanies Taka toward the house.

They pass Higen and Toshiie, who sit with other children at 
the feet of the massive Nakao, listening to a quiet story he 
tells.

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - FOLLOWING

The gentle flute music from outside drifts in.

One of Yoritomo's beautiful kimonos is elegantly spread on a 
mat.

			TAKA
		(subtitles)
	If you wear this, it will honor us.

He nods.

She steps to him.

A moment. She gently reaches forward and unbuttons his collar.

A tender, silent scene as she undresses him and carefully 
wraps him in the kimono. Her hands move gracefully around 
his body, never quite touching him. His movements are gentle 
in response.

When he is fully dressed, there are tears in his eyes.

Suddenly, fiercely, they are holding each other.

EXT. KATSUMOTO'S HOUSE - PORCH - LATER THAT NIGHT

The quiet evening continues.

Algren, now dressed in the kimono, finds Katsumoto carefully 
dropping little leaves of incense into a small flame that 
simmers inside his battle helmet.

			KATSUMOTO
	So my hair will have a pleasing scent 
	when I meet my ancestors.
		(dry)
	...You do not do this? 

Algren smiles, sits.

			ALGREN
	I studied war at a place called West 
	Point. They taught us about a battle 
	called Thermopylae. Three hundred 
	brave warriors held off the king of 
	Persia's army of a million men. For 
	two days they made them pay so dearly 
	that the king lost all appetite for 
	further invasion.
		(looks at him)
	...I have some thoughts about the 
	battle tomorrow.

			KATSUMOTO
		(bemused)
	Do you really think we can defeat 
	them?

			ALGREN
	I sure as hell want to find out.

			KATSUMOTO
	You believe a man can change his 
	destiny?

			ALGREN
	No. But I think a man cannot know 
	his destiny. He can only do what he 
	can, until his destiny is revealed.

A silent beat.

Then Katsumoto picks up a long bundle wrapped in cloth. He 
unwraps it.

A beautiful long samurai sword.

He bows his head and offers it to Algren.

There are Japanese characters etched on the blade.

			ALGREN
	What does it say?

			KATSUMOTO
	"I belong to the warrior in whom the 
	old ways have joined the new."

Algren is moved beyond words. He bows.

As the CAMERA pulls away, Algren and Katsumoto squat side by 
side, drawing in the dirt with a stick, planning the next 
day's battle strategy.

Across the square, Ujio continues his elegant dance of death, 
his graceful form illuminated in silhouette by a fire.

INT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - MORNING

It is the day of the battle. Algren is buttoning the long 
coat of his cavalry uniform.

He looks up to see Higen standing in the doorway, holding 
the breast-plate of his father's armor.

EXT. YORITOMO'S HOUSE - DAY

Algren emerges from the house, wearing the breast-plate over 
his coat.

Taka is at his horse, tying a bag of food to the saddle. She 
turns and sees her husband's armor on this man. And her breath 
stops.

Algren approaches her. They stand very close.

			TAKA
		(subtitles)
	Return.

			ALGREN
		(subtitles)
	If that is my destiny. Anshinritsumai. 
	[I wish you peace.]

			TAKA
	Anshinritsumai.

He bows his head to her, she responds. The boys stand on the 
porch, watching. He mounts his horse and trots off. They 
watch him go.

Algren joins the line of samurai leaving the village. It is 
the first time we have seen them in their full battle armor 
since the battle in the fog.

Katsumoto in his black armor, Ujio in his jet black. And 
Algren in the blood-red breast-plate. It is dazzling.

EXT. BATTLEFIELD - DAWN

We move along the line of waiting samurai. The faces are 
stoic. Prepared.

Their horses are corralled well behind them.

Algren stands with Katsumoto and Ujio. Graham is nearby. 
They peer into the plain beyond.

They have chosen a strong defensive position. A steep mountain 
pass. Slopes on either side create a funnel ahead of them. 
The Imperial Army will have to pass through the funnel to 
reach them.

On a hill above them Higen is revealed. He looks down first 
at the five hundred Samurai, then sees, beyond, the 
overwhelming mass of the IMPERIAL ARMY.

Back on the battlefield A distant thud followed by a high-
pitched whine. A MASSIVE EXPLOSION ahead of the Samurai. 
Artillery.

Algren finds Graham cowering at the base of a straw barricade.

			ALGREN
	Mr. Graham...

			GRAHAM
	Captain?

			ALGREN
	Would you please stay with the horses?

Graham would like to be brave enough to remain, but he is 
not a soldier.

			GRAHAM
	As you suggest.

Graham starts to go --

			ALGREN
	Mr. Graham... Take this.

From his coat, Algren takes his journal, hands it to Graham.

			ALGREN
	Maybe you can use it for your book.

			GRAHAM
	I will.

He heads back to the relative safety of the horse corral.

Meanwhile, the samurai remain impassive as artillery is 
stepped in closer, the range bracketed. Then artillery rounds 
begin to fall among them.

Samurai are blown to pieces as they bravely stand and await 
death. Katsumoto BARKS a command to Ujio.

Suddenly, the Samurai break ranks and trot into a new defense 
alignment. The artillery rounds now fall ineffectually where 
once they stood.

Bagley directs the artillery to be re-targeted, It is a 
laborious, clumsy process. They fire again. Another command. 
The Samurai change position again.

Bagley is furious. Their fluid tactics have rendered his 
field artillery useless.

Katsumoto and Algren share a look of grim satisfaction. They 
are leveling the playing field.

Bugle calls are heard from the Imperial Army.

			ALGREN
	The call to advance.

The rattle of the snare drums. The sound of marching boots.

And then they appear. Thousands upon thousands of them. The 
Imperial Army marching relentlessly forward in strict 
formation. The Rising Sun displayed.

Katsumoto gazes at the awe-inspiring sight. His 500 samurai 
face a staggering 5,000 soldiers.

			KATSUMOTO
	Tell me... what happened to those 
	three hundred warriors at Thermopylae?

			ALGREN
		(a grim smile)
	Dead to the last man.

Katsumoto glances to him, smiles.

EXT. THE SAMURAI POSITION - CONTINUOUS

The First Division of the Imperial Army moves into the funnel, 
their numbers reduced by the size of the access, and head 
toward the barricade.

Katsumoto and Algren watch as they move closer and closer. 
We are expecting the samurai to open fire, but they do not. 
They just wait.

Finally the Imperial soldiers are in rifle range. They stop 
to fire a volley.

Bullets begin hitting among the samurai. Many fall.

Algren nods to Katsumoto, Katsumoto then calls out a command 
and the samurai retreat.

They race back toward the rear of the funnel.

The Imperial Army soldiers climb awkwardly over the first 
barricade and pursue --

The samurai, meanwhile, have taken cover behind a second 
barricade that had been hidden from the Imperial soldiers' 
view. Now safely behind the second barricade, Katsumoto calls 
out a command and --

The samurai fire!

500 arrows explode -- almost instantly followed by 500 more --

Like an image from Agincourt, the clouds of arrows sweep 
across the sky --

Imperial Soldiers fall, the attack falters --

From behind the new barricades, archers fire FLAMING ARROWS, 
that hit the old barricade. It EXPLODES INTO FLAMES, trapping 
the Imperial Army between the two barricades.

And from the second barricade, two large CATAPULTS send balls 
of flaming pitch into the already panicking soldiers.

EXT. OPPOSING HILL TOP - DAY

Colonel Bagley, Omura, several German advisers and Japanese 
Officers watch through binoculars. Stunned. As the First 
Wave is routed.

			HAGLEY
	What the hell?

			OMURA
	It seems Katsumoto will resist his 
	destiny.
		(snaps an order)
	Send in the second wave. Two 
	divisions.

EXT. BARRICADES - DAY

Algren and Katsumoto wait behind the second barricade. We 
note that this barricade is the real thing.

Katsumoto removes a piece of shattered armor from his left 
forearm, a bullet wound beneath. Algren looks over the 
barricade.

They see Imperial soldiers using semaphore flags to 
communicate with their commanders on the opposing hilltop.

			KATSUMOTO
	How long?

			ALGREN
	They need to regroup and report our 
	position. Then they'll come hard.

Katsumoto considers the bodies of the dead Imperial soldiers.

			KATSUMOTO
	It is sad to see brave men die without 
	faces. You cannot tell one warrior 
	from another.

			ALGREN
	They're not warriors. They're 
	soldiers. It's a modern army.

			KATSUMOTO
	Not my world anymore.

EXT. BATTLE FIELD - DAY

Bugles. The attack is reforming. Ranks now bolstered by 
reinforcements.

They come at a trot, through the narrow defile, skirting the 
first barricade, continuing at a trot toward the second 
barricade.

EXT. 2ND BARRICADE - DAY

Katsumoto pulls his long sword. Algren does the same.

Katsumoto calls out an order -- the archers fire another 
round.

The Imperial soldiers are being annihilated but still they 
come in great waves -- for every one who falls it seems there 
are ten to take his place.

They race forward, stepping over their fallen comrades, 
bayonets poised --

The Mauser rifles flash --

Bullets explode around the samurai, many are hit.

The Imperial Army has been trained to keep firing on the 
run. The waiting Samurai will be decimated, except --

From the hills on either side fully half of the Samurai force -- 
who have been kept hidden until this moment... charge, 
screaming into the flank of the attacking Army. Even rifles 
cannot fire in three directions at once.

Algren and Katsumoto lead the charge over the second 
barricade. Some are cut down, but in moments swords engage 
bayonets in brutal hand-to-band combat.

Algren And Katsumoto fight back to back, as if one person, 
slashing with their swords, shattering bayonet, dealing death 
on all sides.

Ujio crouches, his back leg straight and planted, his front 
leg bent. Still using his bow, firing off arrows with stunning 
speed, refusing to budge --

On the opposing hillside Bagley and Omura watch the battle 
through binoculars.

			BAGLEY
	A classic "V" ambush. Sonofabitcb is 
	using West Point tactics.

In the midst of the battle, a charging soldier thrusts his 
bayonet into Katsumoto's arm - Katsumoto kills, the soldier 
with his short sword but is awkwardly tangled with his body, 
a second soldier races toward him for the kill -- Algren 
spins and attacks killing the second soldier -- but a third 
races toward Algren, bayonet flashing.

He dodges -- but the bayonet slices into his side --

Algren kicks the soldier away -- tries to use his sword but 
the soldier springs back athletically... Ujio appears like a 
black spectral figure to deliver the coup de grace.

All SOUND gradually fades and is replaced by the elegant 
sound of a bamboo flute... the images of combat become 
fragmented and impressionistic.

Bur no matter how bravely the samurai fight, they are simply 
outnumbered...

Nakao is like a cornered bear, arcing his two swords wildly 
around him. He is shot in the chest, and staggers a moment 
before continuing. Another soldier shoots him in the arm at 
point blank range. Nakao's sword goes flying, so the giant 
Samurai leaps forward and picks up the shooter bodily, 
twirling him around like a wrestler, throwing him finally 
onto the upraised pike of a fellow Imperial soldier. But now 
three more soldiers have levelled their weapons, and a 
ruthless volley staggers him again. Shots rain on him as he 
tries to continue fighting, but his strength leaves him. 
Finally, with one last lunge, he manages to pull an Imperial 
soldier with him, crushing him as he falls.

More and more fall as Algren, Katsumoto, and their comrades 
fight desperately...

The mournful flute is the appropriate accompaniment as Ujio 
is mortally wounded. The grim sword master is cut through 
with bullets. Still he fights.

An Imperial soldier holds up a rifle to protect himself, and 
Ujio's blade cuts through the barrel. The soldier just has 
time to look at the gun in amazement before a second sweep 
of Ujio's sword beheads him. But there are too many to take 
the man's place, and finally five men run Ujio through with 
bayonets, and he is pinned against the barricade, still 
upright in death.

At last, what is left of this second wave of the Imperial 
Army, retreats.

EXT. PLAIN - ALMOST SUNSET

The plain before the barricade is littered with Imperial 
Army dead.

Algren and Katsumoto sit exhausted, leaning against the 
barricade. They are both wounded.

Only about hundred samurai are still alive.

Algren looks over the decimated warriors for a moment. Even 
those still alive are in bad shape as they wait for the next 
wave of Imperial soldiers.

Katsumoto is looking at Ujio's body nearby.

			KATSUMOTO
	He was Kaishaku... my trusted friend.

			ALGREN
	We won't be able to hold them back 
	this time.

			KATSUMOTO
	This is not your battle. You do not 
	have to die here.

A long beat.

			ALGREN
	I died a long time ago.

			KATSUMOTO
	But now you live again.

			ALGREN
	Yes.

			KATSUMOTO
	It was not your time.

			ALGREN
	No. Maybe I survived just to live 
	this one last day.

Algren looks at him.

			ALGREN
	I'll stay.

He slowly pulls himself up. He and Katsumoto gaze at the 
plain before them.

At the infantry troops massing on the opposing hilltop.

Algren looks at Katsumoto. He reaches into the pocket of his 
old uniform and takes out the Medal of Honor he received, 
long ago, at Sutter's Hill.

He affixes it to his old cavalry tunic.

Katsumoto looks at Algren. They are both thinking the same 
thing.

Silent agreement.

EXT. PLAIN - SUNSET

The hundred mounted samurai are a beautiful sight.

They wait in formation in front of the barricade, the long 
plain through the funnel to the opposing hilltop before them.

Katsumoto draws his long samurai sword.

Algren draws his.

And they slowly begin to trot forward...

And then to canter...

BEHIND THE IMPERIAL ARMY

Colonel Bagley and Omura watch, transfixed. There is something 
approaching admiration on Omura's face. On Bagley's, there 
is only malice.

			BAGLEY
	The gatling guns. Quickly.

EXT. PLAIN - SUNSET

Katsumoto points his sword and screams out his war cry.

And they charge. It is suicidal It is glorious.

It is the end of the samurai.

They charge forward, their war cries echoing in the canyon.

The Imperial troops fire rifles -- samurai fall... but still 
they come -- pounding over the earth like something from an 
ancient dream.

Algren and Katsumoto charge side by side. Alive. Warriors.

BEHIND THE IMPERIAL ARMY

Bagley and Omura watch as the samurai fall, one by one.

WITH THE CHARGE

Fifteen or twenty of the samurai -- including Algren and 
Katsumoto -- somehow manage to fight their way through the 
lines.

They break into the open.

And continue riding straight toward the rear.

ALGREN AND KATSUMOTO

Are both wounded, yet still they charge. They have only one 
thought in mind -- death to their enemies. They gallop forward 
toward Bagley and Omura.

BAGLEY

Looks around in abject terror. He screams out an order.

TWO WAGONS

Are moving into position. Their rear gates fall open... 
revealing the GATILING GUNS.

ALGREN AND KATSUMOTO

Are near enough to see them. Yet they will not be deterred.

They charge on.

Up ahead.

THE GATLING GUNS

Are not yet ready to fire. Japanese soldiers slam ammo belts 
into the chambers.

ALGREN, KATSUMOTO AND THE REMAINING SAMURAI

Have almost reached their goal.

BAGLEY

Cowers in fear, looks around, but there is nowhere to hide.

THE SAMURAI CHARGE

Even while riding at a full gallop, they have fixed arrows 
into their long bows. They let loose a lethal volley.

BAGLEY

			BAGLEY
	Fire! Fire, dammit!!!!!

But before the guns can open up, he is IMPALED BY ARROW AFTER 
ARROW, a human pincushion. The final arrow pierces his 
forehead.

Then...

The Gatling Guns finally fire. Ripping into the samurai -- 
destroying them --

One after another is hit -- and still they come -- their 
voices raised in glorious cries of triumph --

Graham watches from a hilltop, tears in his eyes.

Katsumoto is hit, blood explodes -- his horse falls -- he 
spills off.

Then Algren is hit -- he falls --

Algren drags himself to Katsumoto, bullets exploding 
everywhere.

Algren looks up to see...

The remaining samurai still charging --

And still the Gatling Guns tear through them --

And still they charge.

Until they are all down.

EXT. OPPOSING HILLTOP - SUNSET

A Japanese Officer shouts out an order -- the Gatling Guns 
stop.

Omura screams at him to continue firing!

The Japanese officer barks out response. Refusing.

Omura sees all the samurai are dead or dying.

But he also sees Algren kneeling by Katsumoto, dragging him 
away. He screams at the Japanese officer to resume fire!

The Japanese officer refuses.

He just looks over the plain of dying Samurai for a moment. 
Then he does the most remarkable thing.

He slowly kneels and touches his head to the dirt.

Then a soldier near him does the same thing. Then another 
and another.

And then by the thousands.

They kneel and touch their heads to the dirt.

Honoring the last samurai.

EXT. PLAIN - SUNSET

Algren drags the dying Katsumoto to a copse of cherry trees 
nearby...

EXT. CHERRY TREES - SUNSET

Both men are bleeding profusely.

			KATSUMOTO
	Help me up...

			ALGREN
	Just -- stay there.

			KATSUMOTO
	Help me up.

Algren helps him to stand. Without Algren's support, he would 
fall.

			KATSUMOTO
	My sword...

			ALGREN
	No.

			KATSUMOTO
	You have your honor again. Let me 
	die with mine, Kaishaku.

Algren looks at him, deeply moved. Katsumoto manages to pull 
out his short sword.

			KATSUMOTO
	You must help me. Hold it firmly...

Algren supports Katsumoto as he holds the sword's point firmly 
to his stomach.

			KATSUMOTO
	Are you ready?

			ALGREN
	No, Kaishaku.

Katsumoto looks at him deeply, warmly.

			KATSUMOTO
	We will ride together again.

Katsumoto embraces Algren firmly -- the small sword impales 
him. Algren holds him tightly. Katsumoto is looking over 
Algren's shoulder as he dies.

Katsumoto sees something. A look of joy and absolute peace 
comes to his features.

			KATSUMOTO
		(whispers)
	It is perfect... They are all perfect.

His eyes close. He is dead.

Algren gently kneels with Katsumoto's body. He holds him for 
a moment and then turns to see what Katsumoto was looking 
at.

Cherry blossoms.

A display of perfect beauty.

We slowly fade to...

INT. IMPERIAL PALACE - THRONE ROOM - DAY

Ambassador Swanbeck, Omura, and a retinue of advisors are 
presenting the treaty documents for the Emperor's signature. 
The Emperor sits restively on his throne.

			AMBASSADOR SWANBECK
	...will usher in an era of 
	unprecedented prosperity and 
	cooperation between our two great 
	nations.

A servant comes and whispers into the Emperor's ear.

			OMURA
		(subtitles)
	Highness, if we could just conclude 
	the matter at hand...

The Emperor ignores Omura, and gestures that the doors to 
the chamber be opened.

Algren enters with Graham. Algren carries something wrapped 
in a blanket.

He approaches the Emperor. Kneels and sets the bundle at the 
Emperor's feet.

Algren remains kneeling with his head bowed. He unwraps the 
bundle.

It is Katsumoto's long samurai sword.

The Emperor looks at it.

			OMURA
		(subtitled)
	All your enemies are dead, Enlightened 
	One.

The Emperor continues to look at the sword. He does not look 
up.

			EMPEROR/TRANSLATOR
		(to Algren)
	You were with him at the end.

			ALGREN/TRANSLATOR
	Yes. He asked that I bring you this -- 
	that the strength of the samurai 
	will be with you always.

The Emperor rises from his chair and sits on the floor, in 
the traditional Japanese fashion, before the sword.

			OMURA
		(after a moment)
	Enlightened One, we all weep for his 
	loss, but the future of our country 
	lies in --

The Emperor interrupts him, speaking in English -- to 
everyone's surprise.

			EMPEROR
	My ancestors have ruled Japan for 
	2,000 years. And for all that time 
	we have slept. During my sleep I 
	have dreamed. I dreamed of a unified 
	Japan. Of a country strong and 
	independent and modern...
		(touches the sword 
		lovingly)
	And now we are awake. We have 
	railroads and cannon and Western 
	clothing. But we cannot forget who 
	we are. Or where we come from.

The Emperor looks up at the gathered dignitaries.

			EMPEROR
	Ambassador Swanbeck, I have concluded 
	that your treaty is not in the best 
	interests of my people.

			AMBASSADOR SWANBECK
	Sir, if I may --

			EMPEROR
	You may not. From this moment on, 
	economic investment from every nation 
	will be considered equally.

Ambassador Swanbeck is stunned.

			AMBASSADOR SWANBECK
	This is an outrage --

The Emperor gestures. A servant escorts Swanbeck to the exit. 
Omura takes a step closer to the Emperor.

			OMURA
		(subtitled)
	Enlightened One, we should discuss 
	this

			EMPEROR
		(subtitled)
	Omura, do you know our northern 
	island?

Omura is confused.

			EMPEROR
		(subtitled)
	There is a small one called Taraku. 
	A rock in the sea. There is nothing 
	there but crabs who have been known 
	to tear a sleeping man apart... I 
	have had a small house constructed 
	on the island. You will go there now 
	and await our summons.

			OMURA
		(subtitled)
	Sir...?

			EMPEROR
		(subtitled)
	I hereby seize your family's assets 
	and present them as my gift to the 
	people.

Omura looks at him, stunned.

			EMPEROR
		(subtitled)
	Further, I have decided to stop the 
	railroad expansion into Yoshino.

			OMURA
		(subtitled)
	Enlightened One...

			EMPEROR
		(subtitled)
	You have served your function. I 
	have no more need of you... You can 
	conspire with the crabs now. Remove 
	yourself.

			OMURA
		(protests, subtitled)
	Honored Emperor, I do not know why 
	you disgrace me.

The Emperor finally looks up from the sword.

			EMPEROR
		(subtitled)
	If your shame is too unbearable... I 
	offer you this sword.

Omura looks at him for a moment. Then bows tersely and goes.

The Emperor looks at Algren, still kneeling before him.

			EMPEROR
		(in English again)
	The Samurai is not a man now. He is 
	an idea.
		(a beat)
	Tell me how he died.

Algren looks At the Emperor.

			ALGREN
	I will tell you how he lived.

We slowly fade as Algren begins to speak...

EXT. VILLAGE - DAY

Spring. A few years later.

There are no Samurai training in the square, but otherwise 
the village is bustling with life. We HEAR Graham's voice:

			GRAHAM (V.O.)
	...And so the days of the Samurai 
	had ended.

INT. LECTURE HALL (ENGLAND) - DAY

Graham stands at a lectern on a book tour. A well-dressed 
audience listens attentively. A banner proclaims, "The Last 
Samurai," by Simon Graham.

			GRAHAM (V.O.)
	And in the years to come, the Rising 
	Sun of Imperial Japan would fly in 
	triumph over Korea, over Russia, 
	even over China. Nations, like men, 
	it is sometimes said, have their own 
	destiny

EXT. VILLAGE - DAY

We see that Yoritomo's house has finally been completed. 
Toshiie sits on the porch, Instructing a group of younger 
children in calligraphy.

			GRAHAM (V.O.)
	As for the American Captain, no one 
	knows what became of him. All that 
	is left is his journal which I have 
	published, according to his last 
	request.

Taka steps from the house and passes Toshiie, she carries a 
basket. We move through the village with her...

			GRAHAM (V.O.)
	Some say he died of his wounds, others 
	that he returned to his own country...

She passes an old man teaching the Noh drama to a group of 
teenagers.

She passes Higen, working on a new building. Apparently he 
has found a good life as a carpenter. He seems content.

We go with Taka as she leaves the village...

EXT. CHERRY TREES - DAY

Taka moves through the cherry orchard.

			GRAHAM (V.O.)
	But I like to think he may have found 
	at last some small measure of the 
	peace we all seek, but few of us 
	ever find.

Taka stops. Watching. We follow her gaze to discover:

Algren, sitting alone. Gazing peacefully sat the cherry 
blossoms.

Waiting for the perfect one. He turns to her, a smile of 
quiet joy spreads across his face.

			GRAHAM (V.O.)
	Anshinritsumai. [I wish you peace.]

FADE OUT:

THE END

 
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