The Other Side of the Mountain (1975) Script

I think the hardest time is waking up in the morning.

Those first moments before I remember who I am, and think instead, about who I was.

Mom, there's snow on Mount Tom.

It'll still be there on the weekend.

Don't make me go to school today.

It's the first day of snow.

There's snow on Mount Tom.

Want to sleep awhile?

Can't be late for the first day of school.

Everyone will be skiing but me.

Me, too.

I saw Jill's boobies.

Mom? I saw Jill's boobies.

Will you tell Jerry not to watch me get dressed?

Reverend Byrd called last night and said you're going to have a full class this year.

Good morning, children.

Good morning.

I'm Jill Kinmont, your teacher.

Good morning.

So my mother puts me in the chair in the morning, and I stay in it all day long until she takes me out at night.

You stay in it all day?

Yep. Don't you ever go to the bathroom?

All the time.

You see, I have an in dwelling catheter.

A tube that goes inside me, attached to a bag on the inside of my leg.


There. That's the place.

Isn't it beautiful?

What's the best way to catch it?

Spear it.

Okay. Who can spell spear?

Come on.

First one who gets it, gets to try for that trout.


That's close. That's almost right.

But it's more like "ear."

Anyone know how to spell ear?




So how would you spell spear?




Nope. Nobody would want to marry you.

Think not?

They would, too. She's beautiful.

Yeah, but she can't dance or nothing.

Anybody ever ask you?

Ask me what? To get married.


You don't know him.

If he asked you, how come you didn't?

I always think I'm past it.

That it can't hurt me anymore.

Then without warning, it all comes rushing back.

Here, in Bishop more than anywhere.

Because I can still look up and see the snow.

I'm Jill Kinmont and I ski.

There. There he is.

He's the handsomest thing I've ever seen.

Fastest man on skis in the world.

"Mad Dog" Buek they call him, because he's so crazy.

He takes so many chances.

They say he's trying to kill himself.

Kill himself?

Well, that's what it says.

What if he dies before we meet him?

What if he kills himself before we get on the team?

He won't.

What if he does?

Then we don't get to meet him.

What you got?

Nothing. Come on. What you got?

Let me see. What is it?

Mind your own beeswax. Gimme the magazine, A.J.

It's Dick Buek.

I even got a letter from him this morning.

Didn't you girls know? We've been writing for some time.

He says he's looking forward to meeting me when I... Make the Olympic Team.


Well, anyway, he's too old for me. He's 21 or 22.

And besides, I'm in love with someone else, anyway.

Who's the lucky fella?

James Dean.

All right, listen up, everybody.


Okay. We have our first competition of the year this weekend or, or next weekend, rather.

Now, I usually just take the best skiers to these races, but this time...

I've decided to take everybody.

Herbie Johnson, keep your hands off me.

I didn't do nothing.

Herbie, take it easy.

What did I do wrong?

As if you didn't know. You have your hands all over the place.

They are not. They're right here at the end of my arms.

All right, somebody just trade places with Jill right now.

I will.

Audra Jo.

It's great. Look at that.

It's fantastic.

A.J., come back and get your skis.



Herbie tell her to come back and get her skis.

Now, let's all stick together.

All right.

As far back as I can remember, all I ever wanted to do was ski.

It wasn't just a sport it was a way of life.

Our coach was Dave McCoy.

An ex-champion who shaped us into a top high school team.

Five, four, three, two, one.


Our toughest competition was a team from Boulder, Colorado.

Headed by a speed demon, named Buddy Werner.

In the starting gate, number 46 Three, two, one.

From Bishop, California. Go!

10 seconds.

Skeeter Werner, Boulder, Colorado.

Five, four, three, two, one.


The best skier on the Colorado girl's team was Skeeter Werner.

And it became a personal battle to prove which team was best.

14, 10 seconds. Audra Jo Nicholson, Bishop, California, wearing number 14. Five, four, three, two, one.


This is her second year of competition.

Last year, finishing fourth in the finals at Big Bear, California.

Number 89, in the starting gate.

In the starting gate, Jill Kinmont, number 89.

Ranking first place...

Jill could still take her, Skeeter only got me by five seconds.

10 seconds.

Five, four, three, two, one.


Go, Jill. Go. Go, Jill. Come on do it.

Jill Kinmont, number 89, incompleted run.


Want me to take your picture?

I bit my tongue.

Shouldn't stick it out while you're racing.

Want to know why you burned?

My coach will tell me, thank you.

Skiing is gravity.

Much more powerful than you are.

The less you fight it, the faster you go.

Do I know you?


Get up.

What are you, a doctor or something? Nope.

Now, keep your hands out in front of you.

What's "M.D." stand for?

That's my name. Just... Just crouch down and stay loose.

Now, gravity works through the hinges. Right? Mike. Your name's Mike.

Ankles, knees, butt, elbows. Melvin.

Mark? Maurice? Max? Stick your butt out. Man, stick it way out.

Make yourself like a bullet... Hey!

You want to learn to ski or not?

Look, I'm sorry.

I don't take skiing lessons from just anybody.

I'm Jill Kinmont, and I just happen to be the best ski...

My God!

You're "Mad Dog" Buek.

We have it confirmed now...

Skeeter and Bud Werner...

I had met Dick Buek.

I thought my life would never be the same.

But summer came, and all fantasies had to be put aside.

My family ran a guest ranch called the Rocking X.

And during the summers, all of us did our share.

My best friend was Audra Jo Nicholson and we were inseparable.

He's adorable.

There was nothing we didn't know about each other, no dream we didn't share.

But our biggest dream was skiing.

And we lived in the constant hope of someday making the Olympic team together.


A.J., are you awake?

Can I talk to you?

I'm beat.

All you have to do is listen.


I been thinking about luck.

Wondering why I'm always so lucky.

Everything that I ever wanted I always got.

Did you ever feel that way?

Yeah, sometimes.


And I begin to wonder if maybe I'm just one of those people that's just born lucky

or if I'm...

Just using up all my luck at once.

What do you think?

I think... I think I'm sick.

What's wrong?

I got such a headache.

Maybe you just got too much sun, A.J.

Want some aspirin?

I took some.

I'll bet it's too much sun.

You okay?

Go ahead.

I don't know...

I think I really wonder...

If I'll ever see Dick again.

What d'you think?



You okay?


Are you all right?

Hey, you guys. Somebody call a doctor.

Something's wrong with A.J.

Dave, what did the doctor say?

I think it might be best if you kids just take my car and go on back. All right?

What is it?

They think it's polio.

You kids go on now.


Will... Will you give her this ring?

And... Tell her I love her.

I do.



We're going to the Olympics together.

You're going to be fine.

We're gonna go together.

You're gonna be fine.

You're gonna be fine, Josie.

You'll be fine.

After Josie got sick I wanted to ski for both of us.

And I worked harder that summer than I'd ever worked before.

Are you sure it's him?

Positive. Look. He landed his plane practically right smack in Dave's front yard.

I saw him from the highway. I thought it was gonna crash.

But by the time I got there, he was getting out on crutches.


I swear to God, he was flying a plane on crutches.

Why? His leg.

His broken leg.

Didn't you know? It was in all the magazines.

He was on his motorcycle doing 110 ran smack into a camper trailer flew right through the window and out the other side.

They thought he was dead. They even pulled a sheet over his face.

Can you imagine?

I didn't even know.

Well, that's what you get for being such a hermit.

You better not be kidding me, Linda.

Kidding? I swear.

Look at the plane, you dumb-dumb.

Hi, girls.


What's up?

We were just on our way to school, and, thought we'd stop by and...

See what time practice was.

Same as usual.

Jill, I told you it was the same as usual.

3.30. I don't know why she insisted on coming up here.


Excuse me. Hi.

I'm Linda Meyers.

Hi, Linda.

I been, reading about you ever since you started skiing.

And I, wrote you a letter in the hospital.

This is an old friend of mine.

Old friend of mine, too.

You know her?

Taught her everything she knows.

Now, listen, girls, don't... Don't, be late to school. All right.

Come on, Jill. We're gonna be late for school.

You go ahead. I'll meet you at practice.

What do you mean, go ahead?

Just go ahead.


You want to take a walk or something?


Let's go,

Do you suppose she's in there with him?

I think we better call Dave McCoy.

We can get across right here.

You'll never make it.

Race you across.

Why is it you do these things?

You really want to kill yourself.

I've heard about the crazy things you do.

Sky diving with parachutes you find in trash cans.

Riding your motorcycle like a maniac.

Don't believe everything you hear.

Why, Dick?

Why what?

Why do you want to die?

You care?

Don't be silly.

I just want to know.

I don't think about that.

So... Here I am, I'm, nothing.

Tenth grade education, not a decent thought in my head, but I keep on living.

No matter what I do, I just get right back up on my feet again.

I don't know why good people die.

And I just keep on going.

Well, you are good.

You are.

What the hell do you know?

I know I care about you.

So you must be good.

Think I'm funny?

I think you're beautiful.

Me, too.

You, I mean.

Dick... Please stay alive.

Winter, 1955.

The Olympics were just one year away.

And anyone who wanted to qualify had to finish the season on top.

10 seconds. Number 32, Carol Collingsworth.

Five, four, three, two, one.


Okay. You can't see very well, so stay loose, but be aggressive all the way. Okay?

10 seconds.

Wearing number 89, Jill Kinmont.

Five, four, three, two, one.


As the competition got stiffer, so did my determination to win.

I swept the regionals, winning more trophies than had ever been won in a single year.

And number 89 became the number to watch.

Excuse me.

Well... Smooth. Very smooth.

We need a time on that now.

Hey, Buddy, how about putting your arms around her?

You better ask her first.

The winner Is Jill Kinmont.

In that Incredible year.

Buddy Werner had a winning streak as lucky as mine.

And everywhere we went, people were trying to start a romance.

But I was still thinking about Dick Buek and all that winter I looked for him.

Hey, Dick... Hey.

Buddy, look who's here. Dick Buek.

Who's that blonde with him?

Must be Sigrid Halvorson. They say they're engaged.

Look who's here. It's Dick Buek.

Hey, how're you doing?

Hey, Dick. Hey, how're you doing?

All right. Hey, how'd you break your arm?

Dancing with a very heavy girl.

I know you, right?


Hey, Buddy. Yeah.

I want to introduce you to my fiancee.

Hey, Dick Buek. How are you? How've you been?

Remember Charlie from Lake Placid last winter?

Come on, I'll buy you a beer. Let's go.

Come on. You can talk to these people later.

Hey... Don't.

Hey, whatever's at...

Whatever's wrong, I'd like to help.

Good run.

All right, take it easy this time. Now, you're way ahead. Right?

So don't go for any records.

Now remember that, tree jump, right?

All right, look good. Have fun. Hold on to that lead.

89, 10 seconds.

At the starting gate, Jill Kinmont.

Five, four, three, ...skier of the year.

Two, one. Go.

With the season drawing to a close, Buddy and I were invited to a special training camp, preparing ourselves for the last big race of the year.

It was called the Snow Cup, held in Alta, Utah.

And if I won there, I'd qualify for the Olympics.

Come on, Jill, quit fooling around.

No, you're on your own. Come on!

February 1st, 1955.

The Snow Cup is only a few days away.

And the experts were betting on both of us to win.

You and Buddy going to the Olympics together?

Did you ever ski each other off the slopes?

Only on tournaments sometimes.

What if you don't make it this year?

That was a beautiful run, Jill.

If you win the Snow Cup are you certified in the Olympic Team?

The arrival of flight 22 from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City.

Those waiting for arriving passengers proceed...

What's the toughest competition that you think you'll have?

How do you think she's gonna do at Alta?

Are you confident that you can make it to the Olympics?

There are a lot of people counting on you for Alda.

This is the big one?

It's divided into three sections.

You got a fairly easy start, but you're going to be building up a lot of speed coming into that middle section.

That's the gulley, the one they call the corkscrew.

It's over there.

Then a fairly easy valley and you're on home.

But the race is gonna be won or lost right here. Right here in the corkscrew.

There's a sharp... Sharp rise just ahead of it.

So if you come into it too fast, you're gonna go straight up.

So check there. Right?


Wait a minute. There's Andrea Meade Lawrence.

She's checking. She's slowing down. Right?

All right, now, that's about perfect.

See, 'cause she lost a little time, but she gained control.

Do you understand?

Go ahead and, take your practice run. All right?

My main competition here was a girl named Andy Lawrence.

A top Eastern skier.

Who needed to win this race as much as I did.

But after watching her practice run I knew she could be beaten.

She was slowing down at the corkscrew and this is where I could take her.



Just wanted to say good luck.

Good luck to you.


What is it? I want you to have it.


St. Christopher's. I wear it for luck.

I gotta go. Yeah, Jill, I want to go to the Olympics married.

To me?

Who do you think?

I don't know. I'm a nervous wreck.

I really got to go.

I love you, honey.

Me, too, you.

We got a date at the bottom, right?


We'll talk about it there. Okay? Right.

Go get 'em.

Number 14 in the men's division, Bobby Werner, making his first run.

Hey, look at that.

Look right and left.

Carpenter and Walsh have already broken their records.

And the two main contenders, Andrea Meade Lawrence and Jill Kinmont are yet to perform.

In the starting gate, Andrea Meade Lawrence, Number six, to the gate, please ...wearing number six.

Go, Andy.

Yes, we're ready.

Three, two, one. Go.

And she's coming down just right.

That's gonna be hard to beat. She's way ahead of the field.

Next up, number 89, Jill Kinmont.

You can win the race.

You're gonna win all right?

Just be smooth, and use your head, and hang onto that mountain. All right?

Officials ready? Ready.

Timers ready? Yes. Ready.

We're ready for skier number 89.

Yes, we're ready.

All right.

10 seconds.

10 seconds.

Five, four, three two, one. Go.

Clear the course.

Will you clear the course, please?

Okay. They're on their way right now.

Yeah. They just left here.

Clear the course... Will you clear the course, please?

Where does it hurt, Jill?

I can't feel anything.

Can you feel your toes at all?

No. Jill, it's Dave.

We'll take care of her.

All right, Jill, listen to me now.

Just take it easy. These people are gonna take care of you. All right?

I'm gonna go down to the bottom and I'll see you in a little while. Okay?

All right.

Don and Jack, take her arms.

Sean, take her legs.

Skeeter, you take her feet. We'll straighten her out.

Very carefully. Very slowly.

It's okay, Jill.

It's okay. Just let us do the work.

Hang on.

Straighten her legs out a little more, Skeeter. Buddy...

Okay, on the count of three we'll all lift very slowly.


One, two, three.

There you go. Keep her head from moving.

Ready? One, two, three.

Here we go.

Be careful now.

Try and keep it level. Easy.

Take it easy.

Take it easy.

Move back away from her.

Driver, let's go.

Driver, how long do you think it'll be?

Looks like it's backed up for miles, it could take hours.

She won't make it.

Dave... I... I'm not gonna die.

Now, you listen to me,

this is Jill Kinmont.

And she's not gonna die. Do you understand that?

My head... What's in my head?

It's the traction.


You're gonna be all right, Jill.

Do you understand?

Don't see me like this.

Sleep, Jill.

Just close your eyes and sleep.

If I sleep I'll never wake up.

You're gonna come out of it, Jill.

You got to.

Help me stay... Stay awake, Buddy.

Help me stay awake.

There's been a fracture dislocation of the spinal column at the level of C 5.

In plain talk, it means her neck's broken.

The spinal cord's completely severed.

Will it heal?

It'll fuse.

But that's not the same as healing.

What is the... The prognosis? Yes.

At this point,

it's a matter of guess work.

We'll have to wait for her to tell us.

In the meantime, all we can do is...

Wait and hope.

Hope that she'll walk?

That she'll live.

One, two, three.

Anybody up there?

Hi, I'm your doctor. Dr. Pittman.

There's blood on your shoe.

I'll be darned.

It better not be mine.

You wait out here, Jerry.


Mom, come here.


I can't see you.

Can you turn her over? Just did.

Don't you cry, Mom, you'll get tears in your ears.

Don't you cry or you'll splash them all over my face.

Now look forward.

No. Just with your eyes.

Gives me a headache.

I'm about done.

And back again.



Thank you.

That bad?

Why do you say that?

Beware of smiling doctors.

Do you want to hear about it?


There seems to be nothing left below there.

No movement, no feeling of any kind.

If the break had been a fraction lower, you would've retained the use of your hands.

But if it'd been a fraction higher, you wouldn't be able to breathe without an iron lung.

How long?

How long what?

Before I'm well?

Jill... Dr. Pittman...

You don't understand.

Neither do you.

I have this problem, you see, when I want something, I get it.

I understand that.

No, you don't.

I'm gonna walk out of this place, and if you tell anybody anything different I'm gonna make you look damn silly.


How're you feeling?


I, I'm on my way back home, so, I just thought I'd come by and tell you that if, if you need anything, I mean, anything at all, just ask them to call me and, I'll see what I can do.

I, I think, they're very good people.

They're doing a good Job.

Yeah. Look at all this stuff.

Yeah. I saw that.

How's Andy taking the success?

You know, Andy's been there before.

She's... She's won a lot of races.

She's a good skier.

She's a great skier. She's a great skier.

You have just about everybody up here?




Everything's okay.

Everything's okay.

I'll see you soon.


"How sorry I was I had to leave before seeing you awake."

"But I intend to make up for it with a whole lifetime of watching you wake up"

"and go to sleep"

"in our very own bed."

"You can't imagine how excited I was"

"when I read you're..."

"When I read you were going to ski again."

"But I knew you wouldn't settle for anything less."

"And by the time I can scrape together enough money to visit you,"

"you are going to walk to me"

"and into my arms"

"and we are going to walk away together."

"Love, Buddy."

Isn't he wonderful?


You're a very lucky girl.

Is this where they keep the gimps?


Mom! It's A.J.

Audra Jo.

In the flesh.

Look at you, on crutches.

Grotesque, right?

No. Fantastic.


Come here. Touch me.

How'd you get here?

I hitchhiked.

I did. I hitched a ride with my therapist.

His family lives up here.

And he's cute, too. So what do you think of that?

I think that's great.

Open up.


Well, I gotta go.

You ever want to see me again?

You know what they say, "If your best friends won't tell you..."

What do you want me to do?

Give up?

Stop trying?

For what?

An acting award?

To walk.

What's so great about walking?

For gosh sake, a three year old can walk.

Well, I can't.

I can't even move.

Well, then face it.

Admit it, Jill. Quit playing the heroine.

As I remember, you were pretty heroic yourself.

Seems to me, you did a lot of laughing.

Yeah. Well, I didn't tell people I was gonna climb Mount Everest.

Take it from a veteran gimp.

You got to see what you are and say what you are, before you'll be willing to work with what little you've got left.

Audra Jo, what if I don't have anything left at all?

Then you'll learn to paint with your teeth.

What's happened to you?

Same thing that'll happen to you.

There's only one thing that kills cripples and that's taking themselves too seriously.

You've got arms, Audra Jo.

Sure. Come to C.R.C., I'll show you somebody without a face.

I'll show you a baby living in an iron lung.

Stop it.

So quit moaning about your Olympic medals and start thanking God you still got your head.

Anything else you pick up is gravy.

Audra Jo.


They say I could have won.

Did know that?

Won what?

The Snow Cup.

The Snow Cup?

Wasn't that the race that ended your career?

"An iron willed spirit"

"declaring from a hospital bed she's going to ski again."

They say you're going to ski again, honey girl.

And you will.

You will ski again.

In the spring I was moved to a hospital in Los Angeles and here, the job of discovering what I had and what I didn't have, began in earnest.

That's it, Jill.

Keep... Keep pulling with your upper arm.

Keep your head forward, keep pulling forward with your upper arm.

I began to become familiar with words like extensors and flexors and deltoids and trapeziums.

And I worked harder than I've ever worked in my life.

Keep going. That's it. That's it, Jill. That's very good.

Very good.

Nice easy stretch now. Come on.

Easy. There we go.

Hi, I'm Dr. Enders.

Hi, Doc.

I can save you some time.

I have biceps but no triceps, deltoids but no pecs, well, just a little bit of pecs on the left side, but not much, I'll admit that's a little unusual, but it's a transverse fracture, so the left side's a little stronger.

I see.

How're you feeling?

Just fine. How are you?

I want you to straighten your fingers out now. All right.

I want to feel pressure on my finger.

Okay. All right, go ahead and push.


Not your arm, Jill, you're moving your arms.


Okay, try again. Push.

That's still your arm.


We'll try it one more... One more time.



Try not to look at your arm.

Just concentrate on the pad and we'll see what happens.


That's it.

Just concern yourself with your shoulder.

Let your shoulder do all the upward movements and gravity do the downward ones.

That's it.

Come on. More with the shoulder.

Aha, that's right.

More of the shoulder. More.

Push. You can do it.

Come on. Come on. Push, Jill. Push.

Let's go.

Come on. Come on.

Come on, Jill. Push.

Come on, Jill.

Let's go. You can do it.

Come on, do it.

How's it look? You look fine.

You look beautiful.

Go over there and see how it looks from a distance.

Great. Just great.

Where are the potato chips? In your lap.

No, go on.


Come on in.

You look beautiful.

Do you think? Yes.

Buddy, I missed you.

I missed you.

Could you kiss me?

Are you all right?

I'm wonderful.

I tried to write every week.

You did.

Well, it's 'cause I tried.

You want to see something exciting?

You want to show me?

If you want to see.

Well, that's what I came for.

Well, go over there and sit down.

You don't need any help?

You sure?

Just go over there and watch.

All right.

Now, sit down.

Come on. I'm waiting.

Hold your breath and don't say a word.

It takes tremendous concentration.

Come on, Jill. I've been waiting a long time for this.


Watch carefully. 'Cause the hand is quicker than the eye.

It didn't even break.

Didn't you see what I did?

That's the hardest thing of all.

Jill, aren't you gonna walk?


Yeah. I thought you were...


I'm never gonna walk.

Buddy called me a week later and I never heard from him again.

How about taking her home for a while?

Physically she's as capable as she'll ever be.

It might be a nice break before she's transferred to the California Rehabilitation Center.

Well, that's another thing, Dr. Enders.

She doesn't want to go to C.R.C.

Every time I mention rehabilitation, she says she doesn't need anybody to teach her how to sell pencils.

What do you want?

Time for a shot.

A shot of what?

Of what you need the most, my dear.

God, I don't believe it.

Well, you better believe it, Ace. And you better get your ass out of this bed.

What are you doing here?

You got a coat?

What do you think you're doing?

Busting out.

What's this bottle attached to? It's permanent.

Then it goes with.

Who's he? My only friend.

Dick, I'm warning you. I can't be moved like this.

Who says so? The doctors.

Doctors don't know crap. Dick!

Listen. One more word out of you and I'm going to paddle your butt.

I wouldn't feel it if you did.

I'll make you glad you can't.

Jesus, you're heavy.

You're absolutely crazy.

Yeah. Well, you're not the first to notice.

Morning. Good morning.

Watch out, My God!

My God. Dick, you're crazy.

Gangway. Paraplegic coming through.

Dick, watch out for the people.

Look out!

Look. Dick, the light's changing.

Nobody runs over wheelchairs.

We're gonna get killed. The light changed. We're gonna get killed.

What are you doing?

Okay. I got a few things to say to you. I just wanted a little privacy.

Why don't you say them to your fiancee?

'Cause I don't have one. She wouldn't have me.

I don't blame her. I wouldn't have you, either.

Yeah? You better think twice about that.

'Cause you're gonna have a hard time attracting men sitting around in that damn hospital bed like a big lump of clay.

Eat me. I suppose if you moan and groan enough you might make some jerk like Buddy Werner feel a little sorry for you.

Okay, that's enough.

No, that's not enough. 'Cause I'm gonna stick around here until you shape up.

You understand that?

I don't care if you can't ski. And I don't care you can't walk.

I don't care if you crawl around like a damn lizard, you're not getting any sympathy from me.

You conceited ass. What makes you think I want you?

What do you think you're doing out here in the middle of the street?

I don't care if you want me or not?

You can't park here. I got nothing better to do with my time.

Get out of the way. I guess that shows you what a loser I am.

This is a public thoroughfare. I'm sorry.

Wait. Wait. I can't hear what you're saying.

You should be in the loony bin.

You want your oil checked.

What's going on? What the hell do you think you're doing with my car?

Get away from that car. Are you out of your mind?

This is private property. You can't do that. Get away from this car.

You're crazy as a loon. Come on, get out of here.

Wait a minute.

You're a quart low.

No. I Just had it changed last week.

Are you crazy?

Put that back in or I'm gonna get out of here.

I'm telling you, I'm gonna call the authorities about this.

I'm gonna sue you. I've got a good lawyer, young man.

Okay. You got any money for me?

Come on, I want my money. Hey!

You're crazy.

I come out of the plane and suddenly we were surrounded by all these guys with machine guns.

They thought we were spying or something.

Machine guns. Did you hear that, Dad?

What are your plans, Dick? I mean the future?

Don't have any. I just take one day at a time.

Dick, would you cut my meat, please?

Cut it yourself.

You can't spoil her, you know.

That's been her problem all along.

Anyway, so I'm sitting there in the jungle.

I don't know any of these people, you know.

I mean, they don't know what government I'm from.

They locked me up for... I think I was in there for a couple of days, finally hitchhiked my way up to Acapulco...

Come on. Keep cool, baby. Come on.

I'll slip out of this.

I've got you. Now, just come on.

Push off. Easy. Easy. There you go.

Don't worry about it. I don't want to do this.

That's just about enough. No. Hold it, Bill.

Dad, leave him alone.

He knows what he's doing.

That's not bad?

It's just water. I'm gonna slip through here.

Don't you want to get your hair wet, or something?

I'm wet already. I'm wet already.

Put your arms out. Put your arms out here. You're okay. Like a motorboat.

Dick! Don't leave me out here.

Dick! Don't let go of me, please. Get me out of here.

Dick. Dick, get me out of here. Dick, I'm slipping. Dick.

Dick. Dick. Dick.


Hold on. I'll get you.

You all right?

Easy. Easy.

Are you all right? Okay. I'm sorry.

I didn't mean to. I didn't mean to.

I Just wanted you to see that you could do it, that's all.

You okay?

I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

I'm sorry.

Why, Dick?

I didn't mean to.

What do you think?

I don't know.

I got the house all planned in my head.

No stairs, just ramps.

All the kitchen stuff built low to the ground.

Even the bathroom sink, two feet high.

I can't have kids, you know, Dick.

I figured that.

I don't have any feeling

from my neck down.

So I don't know about making love.

It's not all it's cracked up to be.

You'll want more than me.

Couldn't handle it.

No, you'd get tired of it.

You'd go off doing loop-the-loops in your air plane.

No, no, no more. I'm gonna get a job.

I can't do that to you.

For Chrissakes, somebody's gotta do it to me.

What is it?

Now, you tell me what... Why you're fighting this.

I don't know.

There must be something...

Something to keep me from being so useless.

Seems like you and me got the same problem.

Wipe my nose, okay?

Only if you love me.

I do. Honestly, I do.

I am gonna build that house. Okay?

Well, hey, turns out you don't want it, then I'll just find some other gimp to move in, that's all.


You hear something?

It's a school bell at the Indian Reservation.

What kind?


You know anybody down there?


We had a couple of kids in grammar school.

But they stayed mostly to themselves.

Yeah. Yeah, they usually do.

Why is that?

Well, you ever been down there?


You mean, you've lived in this town all your life and you've never been down there once?


Well, I think it's about time that you got down there, then.

I don't understand it. Why doesn't somebody help them?

I guess everybody's busy enough trying to figure out their own lives.

Why do they stay in this place?

Why don't they leave?

They got nowhere else to go.

The problem is teachers, Jill.

There just isn't any money in teaching in an Indian Reservation.

So all the good ones go down to places like Los Angeles.

That's not fair.

Lots of things aren't fair, honey girl.

I at least had a chance.

I mean, those people don't have a chance at all.

Mom, Dad, Dick let me fly his plane.

I did not. Don't you go getting me in trouble.

I didn't. I swear.

Checking her out?

Taking off.

Where to?

Home, I guess.

You leaving?

Well, you didn't expect me to stay forever, did you?

It's just gonna be for a little while.


Why didn't you tell me? It happened so fast.

You're gonna go get rehabilitated, I'm gonna build that house and in the springtime...

The spring's so far.

They say that every winter.


Will you stop it? You're gonna make me cry, too.

It's good to have friends that can make you cry.

Not everybody's got friends that do that, you know.

Okay. You'll be all right, now.

You're gonna be all right.

Relax. Relax. Relax now. Relax. Relax.

Be easy.

I'll be back soon. I'll be back soon.

I'll be back soon, Jill.

You okay? You okay?

Okay? Okay.

You're gonna love it here, believe me.

It's not so much like a rehabilitation center as it is a great big party.

She's our best recruiter.

And wait till you meet the other live-ins, they're fantastic.

Fantastic is the word.

Well, they're a little weird at first, but once you get to know them, they're really great.

Guys, this is Jill. Jill, this is Kenny and Cookie.

Neil. Welcome to the circus.

Bill, George.

Pat, and there's Willis and Lee. Lee Zadroga.

Bill, did you see that?

No, I didn't see that. I think it was Willy Mays.

Duke Snider.

Willy Mays.

Duke Snider, right? Over the shoulder. Over the shoulder.

It was Duke Snider back off-center to you...

Can't you tell the difference between a black man and a white man?

Yes, I can, man. That's why I say it was Willy Mays.

Jill was a famous person. Did anyone here know that?

What'd you do, Jill?

Nothing, really.

She had her picture on the cover of...

Popular Mechanics Magazine.

Yeah. Yeah. She was gimp of the month.

What're you gonna do now?

I don't know.

Try to be useful.

Useful how?

Try teaching or something.

And after that, she's gonna go learn how to be a brain surgeon.

She skied. She was America's hope for the Olympics.

They can strap skis on that thing. Go ahead on, go back to skiing.

Come on, Jill, say something.

Maybe she can't do nothing without the press around.

You know. All that notoriety.

Jill, on the basketball court, we really thought we were somebody, and we'd be a team.

We come off the court we're really happy.

Then the one guy on the team would always remark, he says, "What are we so happy about? All we beat was a bunch of crips."

It's really good from this chair. I really love this chair.

This beautiful world.

Wait a minute. She's only been here for a couple of hours, so let's cool it down a little.

She still wants sympathy, Ken.

Well, you know where you'll find sympathy in the dictionary, don't you?

Between shit and suicide.

They live in a very insulated little world here, newcomers are a threat.

Especially newcomers with grandiose ideas.

What's so grandiose about teaching?

It's been tried before.

There's not a school in the country that'll accept teachers in wheelchairs.

For that reason, paraplegics and quadriplegics can't even apply for a teaching certificate.

That's not fair.

Sure it isn't fair.

But the outside world assumes that if your toes have gone numb, your brains have gone numb, too.

Consequently, there's a lot of lost potential.

People who swallow defeat because it's being stuffed down their throats so hard, that if they don't, they'll suffocate.

Why hasn't it happened to you?

Well, in some ways I have it easier than they do.

They're all permanent cripples.

Are you gonna walk again?

No. I'm gonna die.

They give me a year to live.

So time is very precious to me. I can't afford to waste any of it.

What do you do?

Do with your time?

I go to school. U.C.I.A. I'm working on my master's.

Are you gonna finish?

It's gonna be close. What are you gonna do?

What do you mean?

I mean, when are you going to start school?

They wouldn't accept me.

My high school grades were lousy.

Let me tell you something.

When the body goes, the mind can compensate.

Do you understand that?

Like a blind man whose sense of hearing suddenly grows sharper.

Yeah, I know that.

But how are they gonna know?

Because I'm gonna tell 'em.

I recommended Audra Jo and Cookie. I can do the same for you.

I might let you down.

My brain has always been the weakest muscle in my body.

Stretch it. Exercise it. Put the damn thing into training then.

Okay? Say okay.


You hope? Yeah.

Hurry up. Okay.

You ready? I'll take your purse.

Are we ready?

What am I supposed to be, Tarzan?

Now, the registry office is right down the end there, and you turn right.

See those pillars down there?

Okay, I'll take the purses.


I got it. Okay.

That's style. How about that?

You next, Sweet Pea.

Thank you.

Okay, come on, splinterass.

Now, Cookie, this is dead weight.


Now, don't panic. There's got to be a way out of this.

Speak to me.

What is this, a freak show?

We ought to charge for this.

Contrary to popular thought what I myself was taught.

When I was learning about the...

Don't try to copy everything he says.

Just the important points. Use an outline form or isolated words if you have to.

...probable estimate.

And the way we found that out is a man by the name of Goldstein.

Took a small tube, opaque on the sides, and glued it.

"Once there was a turkey, his name was Timothy Tom Turkey."

The most significant thing that began to happen was the children.

There were dozens at C.R.C. and I found myself drawn to them, And they to me.

"Consequently Timothy Tom got very skinny."

"But at Thanksgiving time when everybody goes out to get their turkeys,"

"nobody wanted Timothy Tom."

"And let him run wild."

When you do a term paper, you got to write like a writer.

Make every sentence say exactly what you mean.

If you got a big idea, then you write a big sentence.

If not, don't. Simple.

You're right, it does look like "bowquet."

But it's pronounced "bouquet."

I like "bowquet" better.

So do I. But if you say it like that, nobody's gonna know what you're talking about.

Why don't they write it the right way?

They're trying to trick us.

You know what I mean?

You know something, Jill? I wish you were my teacher.

You know something, Matt? I wish I were, too.

Don't do it, Jill.

What have I got to lose?

Faith in mankind.

You like to get your teeth kicked in?

I can kick back.

I can tell you what he's gonna say right now.

I'll get it firsthand.

"You people are an inspiration to me. An absolute inspiration."

You people are an inspiration to me. An absolute inspiration.

The way you carry on in the face of these handicaps.

Just makes me feel very small, indeed.

We were talking about a teaching certificate.

I know. I'm afraid it would be a waste of your time.

I can't let you do it.

I have all the time in the world.

But it's my responsibility to teach you something that you can do.

I can teach. I know it.

No school will take you.

Not without a teaching certificate. Of course they won't.

It's not the certificate.

I mean, be realistic. It's your handicap.

At this moment in my life, my only handicap is you.

I want you to know I understand how you feel.

I'm a man who likes challenges, himself.

And what challenges are those?

Well, my position here.

That was a considerable challenge.

Why is that?

Well, I had to work and very hard.

Do you know what it's like to struggle to pick up a piece of Jell-O?

Try it sometime without any hands.

I don't know what that has to do with anything?

Have you ever tried to slide onto a toilet seat without the use of your legs?

Not knowing whether you were on or off?

Because you couldn't feel the porcelain underneath your butt?

Miss Kinmont!

Don't patronize me.

I'm only trying to make the point that...

Have you ever got an itch on your nose but you can't reach up to scratch it?

That's enough.

No, it's not enough.

You want to hear about challenges.

I'll tell you the meaning of the word.

All right, now, you've made your point.

Let me make mine.

Paraplegics are unacceptable as teachers at any school in this country.

Until you find one that will hire you, I cannot allow you to study for a teaching certificate.

Can I hold you to that?

Until hell freezes over.

The one thing I knew about that no one else did, is the Indian School back home in Bishop.

I went there immediately, arguing that if they needed qualified teachers, they'd have to take me as I was.

What'd they say?

They said, "Yes." They'll take her as a teacher.

Let's go.

It was a beginning. The start of a new existence.

I could rely on myself again and make my own way.


Hey, are you feeling all right?

Yes. Everything's fine.

I want you to come for my birthday.

Your birthday?

Aren't you a little old for birthday parties?

I've something I want to tell you.

Tell me.

I can't. I'll tell you when you come.

I wait for no one.

You'll have to wait.


Help me understand this, you have... You have called me long distance to tell me that you can't talk to me?

I mean what is that, I don't understand that.

Jill. Hello?

Hello? Hello.

Okay. I can tell you now.

I love you.

And I want to marry you

I'm gonna hold you to it.

Don't start the party without me, okay?

Atta girl, Linda. Smooth and pretty.

While I waited for Dick, I went back up the mountain.

And there in the last snow of the season, I saw clearly that life had gone on without me.

All right, you have to keep 'em flat right?

And work those knees. Okay?

Who would have believed it?

What're you thinking?

How damn lucky I am.

Don't worry. He'll be here soon, teacher.

Boy, it's gonna be hard getting used to calling you that.

More presents? More presents.

And you're not to open a single present until he comes.

Any sign of the Red Baron?

Soda Springs Airport?

Say, I was wondering if you could tell me when Dick Buek took off.

Two days ago?

No, no. We were just kind of expecting him this morning, that's all.

I'm sure he'll be along. Right. Thank you.

He's about the best flyer in the whole world, don't you think, teacher?

I'm sure he just ran into bad weather, he'll be calling any minute.

You know how he likes to scare people.

It's a fact. He enjoys dramatic entrances.


It's him. It's Mr. Buek from Soda Springs.

He never left home.

He must've turned back.

Yes, this is Mr. Kinmont. I'll take it.

Hello, Dick?

It's Dick's father. He wants to talk to you.

Somebody take me outside.

Bobby, take me outside, please.

I'll go with you.

No, I'd rather be by myself.

Hello? Yes, this is Bill Kinmont.

I see.

Yes, I understand.

I'm so sorry.

So sorry.

Yes, I'll tell her.

Is there anything we can do?

We... We all loved him very much.

We'll miss him so much.

Anybody ever ask you?


To get married?

If he asked you, how come you didn't?

I think it's time we go home.

Come on, everybody. Let's go.

I try not to let it, but sometimes it all plays back in my head.

And when it does, I remember the words that Dick Buek said to me the last time I saw him.

"How lucky I am to have known somebody or something that saying goodbye to is so damned awful."