The Ponderosa Spirit - 2Joan Sherman Markowitz

Hoss and Joe ride up to saloon, dismount and hitch their horses to the rail and enter saloon.

As Joe and Hoss enter, look around , see an empty table and head for it.  Joe sits and Hoss goes to the bar.

HOSS: Hi, Pete.  How's business?

PETE: If everybody ate and drank like you – it'd be pretty good.

HOSS: Sorry I asked.  Gimme a couple of your warm beers and two of your cold steaks with all the trimmin'.

PETE (as he pours beer): Two warm beers comin' up.

HOSS: Thanks Pete.

Hoss goes over to the table, nodding at people as he goes.

HOSS (he sits down, hands Joe beer): Hey Joe – what kind of an act do you think this – uh – Madame Kara puts on?

JOE: Well, from the sign I don't think she does an act like in a regular show.  I think she holds a séance.

HOSS (stares): A WHAT???

JOE: A séance.

HOSS (at a loss): What in tarnation is a saynance?

JOE: Séance.  I'm not too sure…but I think she talks to spirits.

HOSS: Oh that's just a bunch of hogwash.  How can anybody talk to spirits.

JOE: I don't know – I sure can't.

HOSS: I can't either – but it sure ought to be fun sitting in on that saynance.

JOE: Séance.

HOSS: Yeah.  Saynance.

JOE: Just don't you go bringing any stray spirits home.  You know what Pa said about you pickin' up strays.

Bartender enters with steaks, puts them on the table.

HOSS (sheepishly): Let's eat.

JOE (As Pete starts to leave): Hey, Pete.  Let's have a couple more beers here.

Pete nods.  Exits.

HOSS (biting into steak): Hey, this is darn good for a change.

JOE (doing same): You're right.  They must have a new cook.

HOSS: Maybe we can get Paw to replace Hop Sing.

JOE: Or replace our cows.

Hoss laughs.  Pete enters with two more beers, sets them on the table.

JOE: Pete… darn good steaks.  Done just right.

PETE: Glad you like them, Joe.

Pete exits toward bar.  Hoss and Joe continue eating and sip their beers.  As they are eating they overhear a conversation between two men at the next table.

Drinking beer.

MAC: Sam, you ever hear of this Madame Kara before?

SAM: Yeah.  Saw her in Dodge City a couple-a years ago.  She's a real looker.  Tall and regal.

MAC: What exactly does she do?

SAM: I said I saw her but I don't rightly know what she was doin'! She has all these people from the town sittin' around this here table and then she goes into some kind of trance and in this trance she answers questions that the people ask and also talks to the dead relatives.

MAC: That sounds like a lot of hogwash.  Why do they sit around a table?

SAM: I guess she can talk to the spirits better that way.

MAC: Sounds kind of silly to me.

SAM: I guess so – but it will be somethin' to see again.  Maybe she can tell me where a gold mine is.  (laughs)

MAC: Maybe she's found one – us!!

During this time we can go to shots of Joe and Hoss listening.  At one point Hoss motions to Pete for a couple more beers.  Pete returns with beer for them.


JOE: Thanks, Pete.

HOSS: I wonder if she really can answer folk's questions and see into futures.

JOE: I doubt if anybody can do that unless they're clairvoyant.

HOSS: Clair WHO??

JOE: Oh, uh, clairvoyant.

HOSS: Who in tarnation is Clairvoyant?

JOE: Remember that gypsy girl that Pa helped out..

HOSS (Interrupting): Her name wasn't Clair, Joe.

JOE: Hoss – just listen! That Gypsy girl could see into the future and predicted many things that were going to happen and her family kicked her out of the homestead for being a witch.  Well, that's being clairvoyant.

HOSS: Oh yeah.  Didn't Paw have a book around on that? I wonder if its still around the house.

JOE: I don't think so.  I think he gave it to the girl's family so they could understand this sense she had and not be frightened by it.

HOSS: It's gettin' late.  I better get goin' so I can get a seat up close.

JOE: Okay.  But remember what I told you – no strays and stay out of trouble.  We don't want Pa to think I can't take care of you.  (laughs)

HOSS (not thinking it very funny): Aw, come on, Joe. (very seriously) I'm too big for you to take care of .

Hoss gets up and starts to leave saloon.

JOE (calling after him): See you later.


Hoss leaves the saloon, mounts his horse, and heads for the theatre.  There are several towns- People heading down the street towards the theatre.  As Hoss pulls up in front of the theatre And dismounts he nods a greeting to several of the people.  He looks kind of sheepish as Though he is too big to attend something like this.

People milling about.  Hoss works his way though the crowd and reaches the doors.  He enters.

CAMERA PANS to the stage and we see a large round table in the middle of the stage with Perhaps twelve chairs around it.  A VOICE is heard asking the people to please take a seat and to keep the talking to a minimum.

KARA: (VOICE O.S.) There is room for only twelve people at the table.  Those of you who wish to speak to your loved ones please take a seat.

Hoss tries to sit down in the audience but something compels him to go up on the stage and sit at the table.  After everybody is seated Madame Kara enters.  She is wearing a beautiful flowing robe.  She nods at the people and sits right next to Hoss.  As she sits down she stares at Hoss and he starts fidgeting.  Kara is a beautiful woman, rather tall and blonde.  Just for a second Hoss is reminded of his mother.  Kara looks away from Hoss and gives her attention to the rest of the townsfolk.

KARA: As I look around the table I see some familiar trees.  There are those whom I have met before at a different time and a different place.  It is good to see you again.

Kara's voice is quite soft but commands attention.  The CAMERA goes around the table and we see some of the people smiling at Kara.  Yet there is something akin to fright in their eyes as though they know what to expect and it scares them..

KARA (continuing): For those of you that are new to this table I demand absolute quiet. No whispering among yourselves and no snickering.  If you do not believe what you see and hear I must ask you to keep it to yourselves and wait until the proper time and leave the table. I will have no doubters here.  Do all of you fully understand that.

She looks around the table and we HEAR a murmuring of assent.

KARA (continuing): Good! We now understand each other.  I'm going to pass around a little piece of paper to each of you and you are to put your name on it.  Then fold the paper and pass it back to me.  As I look at the name I will look directly at the person whose name is on the paper.  Don't be alarmed if I appear to go to sleep in my chair.  I'm communicating with the spirits.  You will hear the voices of your loved one through my mouth.  There are no gimmicks or wires either over the table or under it.  I must ask you to keep your hands flat down on the table in front of you.

The CAMERA again PANS around the table and we see the people bring both hands up on the table.  The camera stops on Hoss's hands and goes up to his face.  He's looking at Kara as if he can't keep his eyes off of her.  I'm sure he's never seen anything like this or her.  The camera returns to Kara's face and she looks at Hoss and her eyes seems to burn into his and he drops his eyes.  She looks around and sees that all hands are on top of the table.

KARA (continuing): We will now commence.  The first name is Carl Owens.

She looks at Carl and then leans back in her chair and looks off into space.  She slowly closes her eyes and appears to be napping.

KARA: Your brother is doing all right, Carl.  There are no problems.  He can't talk to you right now as he is beyond our realm right at the moment.  Maybe later he will be able to greet you.

A moment passes.  CAMERA MOVES to the faces at the table during this moment and we see some skepticism on the faces.  Kara snaps to and goes to the next piece of paper, opens it and reads the name.

KARA (continuing): Ann Gregory. (hesitates) You want to speak to your husband.  He is coming.

Her face reflects fear and awe as we feel there is something in the area other than the mortals.  It's as though a cold draft came onto the stage although the doors have remained closed.  Kara speaks and, although it is her voice, it has deepened considerably and there is a quality to it that sounds like Ann's husband as we can tell from Ann's face.  She looks like a frightened deer.

KARA (continuing): My dear Ann…don't be sad.  I am well and happy.  Please don't mourn me…we will meet again.  Goodbye…..

Ann starts to cry – sobbing – and the mood is broken.  She gets up from the table and runs down the aisle and out the door.

She looks around the table and her eyes light on Hoss.  He looks as if he's going to break and run also.  He's not too sure he likes this.  He starts to get fidgety.  Finally, Kara speaks to him.

KARA (continuing): Hoss Cartwright.

as Kara continues.

KARA (continuing): I see a beautiful blonde girl, tall and stately.  She is your mother.  Her name is… In… ger.  The last name is rather blurred.  It's coming to me slowly.  Berg…. no, that's not it.  Borg…strom.  That's it! Inger Borgstrom.

Hoss's face shows his astonishment.  To his knowledge he's never met this woman before or heard his father ever mention her name.

HOSS: How did you know that?

KARA: Shhhh! I see more.  She has a brother.  He was also referred to as Hoss.  His name was ….  Gunnar. (abruptly) I am tired now.  Please tell the other people waiting that there will be no more sittings tonight.  Your money will be refunded.  Thank you for coming.

showing disappointment on the faces of the people who didn't get a chance.  Kara gets up from the table as the others slowly rise and start to walk out.  Kara goes to the wings of the stage and Hoss calls out after her.  She turns.

HOSS: Miss Kara

Hoss walks over to her.

KARA: Yes, Mr. Cartwright.

HOSS: May I talk to you for a moment?

KARA: Of course.  What can I do for you?

HOSS: How did you ever meet my mother?

KARA: I never met your mother.

HOSS: Then how come you described her so perfectly and Gunnar.

KARA (looking amused): The spirits told me.  I saw your mother quite clearly.

HOSS: That's impossible.  My mother's been gone for many years.  Any anyway there's no such thing as spirits.

KARA (looking amused): Aren't there, Mr. Cartwright?

Hoss looks confused.  Here is, apparently, an intelligent woman telling him there are spirits and ghosts.  He doesn't know what to think.

HOSS: Shucks, no, Miss Kara.  We could see them around us.

KARA: Not necessarily.  They only show themselves when they want to.

HOSS (making up his mind): Miss Kara.  I know this may sound strange, even fresh, but could you come home with me to the Ponderosa? My brother, Joe, would never believe me when I tell him about you.  We have a real nice place.  I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

KARA (pause): Mr. Cartwright.  It sounds interesting.  I will be happy to go.  I always wanted to see this country but never had the time.

HOSS: Do you have to do another show or can we leave right away?

KARA: No, that was my last performance in Virginia City.

HOSS: Good! You go pack and I'll hire a rig.

KARA: It won't take ma long to get ready.  Call for me at the hotel.

Hoss turns away and exits theatre.  Kara watches him go and a slow smile starts on her face.  It Was easy of wind Hoss around her finger.  It won't be so easy with his father.  But she has her foot in the door and her problem seems to be a little easier.  She looks around the theatre and then exits.

We see Kara leave the theatre and walk down the street toward the hotel.

Hoss is riding down the street towards the livery.  As he rides he gets the feeling someone is following him and he occasionally glances behind him.  We see nobody but he kicks his horse to make him move a little faster.  He reaches the livery and dismounts.

Hoss ties his horse to the rail and walks into the stable.

Hanson, the owner, walks up to Hoss.

HANSON: Well, howdy, Hoss, what can I do for you?

HOSS: I'd like to rent a carriage, Mr. Hanson.

HANSON: Sure, Hoss.  What kind.  Two people or four. (silence) Hoss?

HOSS (preoccupied): Oh – what, Mr. Hanson?

HANSON: I asked you what kind of a rig did you want – two people or four.

HOSS: Oh, two people.  I'll get it back to you tomorrow.

HANSON: Keep it as long as you want it.  That's two dollars a day, Hoss.

Hoss reaches into his pocket and pulls out a couple of bills and gives them to Hanson.

HANSON: Just have a seat, Hoss.  The rig'll be ready in a minute.

HOSS: Okay.

Hoss sits down on a bench.  A cold chill goes over him and he shivers.  He glances up and down, sees nothing and shrugs.  He can't stay still though.  He gets up and starts to pace up and down.  Finally, Hanson calls him and Hoss goes out of the stable and to the side of the building.

EXT. LIVERY – SIDE ENTRANCE – NIGHT Hoss walks over to the rig.

HANSON: Here she is, Hoss – all ready to go.

HOSS: Thanks, Mr. Hanson.

Hoss starts to climb into rig.

HANSON: Oh, Hoss – do you want me to keep your horse here until you return the rig.

HOSS: No, thanks, Mr. Hanson.  I'll just hitch her on the back.

Hoss climbs in and goes to the front of the livery.  Stops and climbs down.  Goes to his horse, unties it and then ties it onto the back of the rig.  He again climbs in the rig and turns the horses around and heads towards the hotel.

Hoss driving the rig towards the hotel.  Usual activity that goes on at night Virginia City.  He reaches the hotel and pulls up.  He jumps down.

Hoss ties up the horse to the rig and enters the hotel.

He looks around, but doesn't see Kara.  Usual extras milling about in hotel.  He sits down and as he does Kara comes down the steps with a boy carrying her bags.  He goes over to her and takes the bags from the boy.  He reaches in his pocket and hands the boy some change.

KARA: Were you waiting long, Mr. Cartwright?

HOSS: No, ma'am.  Just got here.  Shall we go.

KARA: All set.  I settled my account earlier.

They leave the hotel..

Hoss puts the bags in the rig and then helps Kara in.  He hops in and they start off.  They ride in silence for a little while as they go through town.

KARA: Why so silent, Mr. Cartwright?

HOSS: Please call me Hoss.

KARA: All right.  Why so silent, Hoss?

HOSS: Just thinkin', Miss Kara.

KARA: What about?

HOSS: I just can't figure out how you know so much about my family.  It's downright eerie!

KARA: I wouldn't worry about it too much, Hoss.  There are some things that are unexplainable.


There is a full moon and it's one lovely night.  At times Hoss glances behind him and peers out into the darkness as though something were following them.  Kara notices this but says nothing about it.

KARA: This is beautiful country, Hoss.  These trees are magnificent.

HOSS: They sure are.  My Paw says you should never cut one down until another one's been planted.

KARA: That sounds like a very good rule. They enter the lake area.

The moon is shining down on the lake and it shimmers and sparkles.  Kara is awed by the beauty.

HOSS (beaming): Paw's very proud of the Ponderosa.

KARA: And well he should be.  It's too beautiful for words.  Does he own all this land? (she sweeps her hand around).

HOSS: Yes, Ma'am.  As far as the eye can see and farther.

KARA: It must have taken years to develop and grow.

HOSS: He did it all by himself.  Joe and me was too little to be of much help.  My older brother, Adam, helped a lot.

KARA: That's right.  You do have an older brother.  I forgot about him.  Is he at home also?

HOSS: No, Ma'am.  He's traveling through them foreign countries across the sea.  No tellin' when he'll be home He likes it over there.  We prefer the ranch life.

KARA: I don't blame you.

HOSS: Hey, what did you mean when you said you forgot about Adam? I never mentioned him.

KARA: You didn't have to, Hoss (smiles faintly).

Hoss starts to reply and then clams up.  The rest of the ride is made in silence each with their own thoughts.

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