TILDEN SCRIPT 2011 - FINAL DRAFT Feb 3, 2012
Script created with Final Draft by Final Draft, Inc.
1 EXT. NEW YORK CITY - ESTABLISHING - DAY 1
VARIOUS CUTS: OPENING Establishing the 1876 time period with
EXTRAS in costume going about their daily business in a New
York City, Fifth Avenue Hotel with a campaign poster of
Rutherford Hayes for President, Everett House with a campaign
poster of Samuel.
2 EXT. NEW YORK CITY - NEWSPAPER ROW - TIMES BUILDING - NIGHT2
EXTRAS - HORSE and CARRIAGE DRIVERS mulling around outside.
JOHN REID rides to the curb and dismounts from his horse. He
walks toward the New York Times building entrance.
3 INT. NEW YORK CITY - NY TIMES NEWSROOM - NIGHT 3
John Reid, enters the room holding a pad of paper. JOHN
FOORD, Editor and Chief and CHARLES H Miller review election
results by the blackboard. John Reid walks toward them,
picks up a piece of chalk and stares at the map for a moment.
SUPERED: November 7, 1876, 10 p.m. - New York Times Editors
office, John C. Reid, Newsroom Editor, John Foord, Editor and
Chief, Charles H. Miller, Editor.
Damn Dirty Democrats have won this
His majority is strong.
INSERT: Hand written on the blackboard - "Tilden - 4,300,316 -
Hayes, 4,036,016 - Majority for Tilden - 264,300.
BACK ON SCENE:
Reid goes to a map on the wall and takes his pen out of his
pocket and writes a question mark over the states of South
Carolina, Florida and Louisiana. He hands off a suggested
headline he has in his hand to John Foord. Charles Miller
leans over Foord's shoulder to read it.
You can't be serious? His
supporters will go berserk.
It'll create some confusion and
give me time to talk to the
And say what exactly?
It will sell lots of papers.
It will make us look like fools.
4 INT. NEW YORK TIMES - PRESS ROOM - NIGHT 4
MEN stack the newspapers rolling off the presses.
INSERT: Newspaper with headline, "A Doubtful Election"
5 EXT. GRAMERCY PARK - ELECTION POLL - DAY 5
SUPERED: Earlier that day.
It's cold, damp and rainy. About mid morning, New York
Governor SAMUEL TILDEN, dressed in his best black suit with a
red flower in the buttonhole walks out to the sidewalk where
a CROWD is waiting to greet him. Tilden's a wealthy educated
railroad lawyer, who is soft spoken, thin and frail figured
man in his early sixties with slight graying at his temples.
His thin light brown hair parted on the left frames his face
neatly and steel blue eyes. His right eye noticeably droops
from Ptosis. Tilden climbs into a horse carriage and asks his
CARRIAGE DRIVER to take him to his campaign headquarters.
Obviously displeased with the nasty weather conditions
Samuel's coach driver works his way slowly through and away
from the crowd lining the street.
6 INT. OHIO - RUTHERFORD HAYES HOME - DAY 6
RUTHERFORD HAYES sitting at his desk. He writes in his diary.
SUPERED: Election day - Rutherford B. Hayes writes in his
RUTHERFORD HAYES (VO)
November 7, 1876. "A cold but dry
day. Good enough here for election
work. I still think Democratic
chances the best. But it is not
possible to form a confident
opinion. If we lose, the South will
be the greatest sufferer. Their
misfortune will be far greater than
ours. I do not think a revival of
business will be greatly postponed
by Tilden's election. Business
prosperity does not, in my
judgment, depend on government so
much as men commonly think. But we
shall have no improvement in civil
service - deterioration rather, and
the South will drift towards chaos
7 EXT. NEW YORK CITY - EVERETT HOUSE - STREET - DAY 7
Tilden's carriage driver halts the horses as close as he can
to the street entrance of the Everett House Campaign
headquarters, in the midst of a CROWD of hundreds of well
wishers that have stood in the foul weather for hours holding
Tilden campaign signs. Samuel, steps out of the carriage onto
the street and works his way through the crowd, shaking hands
and offering his gratitude for their support. Many in the
crowd wave their hats and handkerchiefs. Samuel exits into
8 INT. NEW YORK CITY - EVERETT HOUSE - HEADQUARTERS - DAY 8
Once inside Samuel greets and extends his appreciation to his
CAMPAIGN WORKERS scattered throughout the room counting
votes. There is a large tally board, on the wall. Samuel
walks toward the board and is quickly greeted by his nephew
WILLIAM PELTON and other campaign managers, JOHN BIGELOW, DAN
MAGONE, and Congressman ABRAM HEWITT.
You looked like you were having a
good time with the crowd uncle.
I was -
The numbers look favorable. Bets
are running one-hundred to eighty
in your favor."
We suspect a landslide.
Telegrams are telling of victory
every minute. None of us doubt it.
Has anyone wired Hayes in Ohio and
told him the good news?
The men all laugh out loud.
9 EXT. OHIO - HAYES HOME - STREET - DAY 9
It's early in the evening and hundreds of HAYES SUPPORTERS
stand by the path entrance. They chant his name and hold
their campaign signs in the air. The beauty of the colorful
red, burnt orange and gold autumn maple, oak and birch leafs
swirl and dance in the wind while they make their descent to
the ground over the people.
Hayes, Hayes, Hayes.
SUPERED: Estate of Ohio Governor Rutherford B. Hayes. His
first elected office was while he was still in the army and
he didn't want the job: "An officer fit for duty who, at this
crisis, would abandon his post to electioneer for a seat in
Congress ought to be scalped."
SUPERED: At the conclusion of the war and thus the end of his
military obligations, Hayes served as a member of the U.S.
House of Representatives from 1865-1867. After leaving
Washington he was elected governor of Ohio, where he served
two separate terms, not consecutively.
10 INT. OHIO - HAYES HOME - LIVING ROOM - DAY 10
LUCY HAYES tries with all the courage she can muster to hold
back her tears of disappointment. Senator W. T. SHERMAN of
Ohio, Rutherford Hayes and some OTHER GUESTS have gathered.
All are glum.
There, there Lucy. It was not meant
It's shameful. You are more suited
for the Presidency than Tilden.
What about all those poor colored
folks in the South? Who will tend
to their needs?" Wouldn't you
agree Senator Sherman?"
W. T. SHERMAN
I'm confident Tilden will do right
Lucy moves away from Rutherford and walks toward the
Please excuse me. I feel I am
She continues her up the stairs. Hayes watches her for a
brief moment and turns his gaze to the floor.
It seems we Republicans had little
hope for success this time.
11 EXT. GRAMERCY PARK - TILDEN MANSION - NIGHT 11
HUNDREDS OF TILDEN SUPPORTERS congest the streets and wave
their campaign signs while they wait for Tilden's arrival.
REPORTERS hand scribble notes in their pads. John Reid stands
amongst them and observes the crowd.
12 INT. TILDEN MANSION - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT 12
MARY PELTON, watches the crowd from the window with a few of
her closest friends and family. SARAH, SUSAN, SOCIALITE 1 AND
SOCIALITE 2. GEORGE SMITH, Samuel's private secretary is a
few feet away seated at his desk.
So many people.
Grandmother - this event is
He ate very little breakfast this
Who could eat at a time like this.
Mary walks away from the window and calls out to George
George, are you all right in there?
I could use some help organizing
all these telegrams.
Susan, would you?
Of course grandmother.
Susan walks over to George and picks up some of the telegrams
that have fallen to the floor.
Several BUTLERS and MAIDS walk in and out of the
As they prepare a dinner buffet. Mary, walks back to the
This rain is miserable.
A little drizzle won't melt them
I want to be the first to dance
with him at the Inaugural Ball.
After me you will.
Mary pushes back the window curtain a little further and the
women move in closer.
I wish our parents were here to see
13 EXT. GRAMERCY PARK - STREET - NIGHT 13
MORE PEOPLE flock in to the celebration. Samuel's carriage
driver works the horse and carriage carefully through the
crowd. On the back of the carriage opposite Samuel, are two
SOLDIERS dressed in uniform. They jump off the carriage and
move people back to open the street for the carriage.
Coming through. Make room for
Governor Tilden... I mean President
The crowd cheers.
14 INT. TILDEN MANSION - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT 14
Mary moves away from the window toward the
And inspects the buffet table and food.
He must be famished.
Sarah walks to Mary, takes her by the hand and leads her
Come Mary...This is a big moment
for you and your brother.
Mary glances over at George Smith and Susan.
I suppose you are right. Come
Susan, Mr. Smith - all of us should
15 EXT. TILDEN MANSION - FRONT PORCH - NIGHT 15
Sarah, Mary, George Smith. Susan and the Socialites join in
the fun and wave their handkerchiefs back at the crowd.
Samuel steps out of the carriage and the CROWD cheers.
Step back please! Make room for our
The two soldiers proceed to clear a path through the people
for a Samuel to walk through. Samuel shakes peoples hands as
he walks toward the
Samuel climbs the stairs and kisses Mary on the cheek.
We did it.
You did it dear brother. We all are
so proud of you.
Sarah, whispers in Mary's ear.
This is the most exciting day of my
Samuel greets the other ladies by taking each of their hands.
He turns and waves to the boisterous crowd then exits into
the house with the ladies and George Smith.
16 INT. TILDEN MANSION - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT 16
Wires Mr. Smith?
Hundreds of them.
Til-den, Til-den, Til-den.
Grandmother said you would be.
She's has a beautiful buffet in
Put the work down for now Mr. Smith
and lets all go get something to
17 EXT. TILDEN MANSION- STREET - NIGHT 17
John Reid still with the other reporters writes notes in his
pad. A SPECTATOR nudges him.
SPECTATOR (TO REID)
Isn't it exciting?
He hasn't won yet.
Of course he has. All the
newspapers are reporting it.
He has the popular...but it is
What do you mean doubtful? He won
by a landslide.
Reid turns from the Spectator and walks toward his HORSE that
is tied to a hitching post. He mounts his steed and trots off
down the road.
18 INT. NEW YORK CITY - TILDEN MANSION -DINING ROOM- NIGHT18
Samuel, Sarah, Mary, Susan. George and the other socialite
ladies are seated around the buffet table eating. Their
chatter is boisterous. The telegram machine is heard in the
background and clicks non-stop. William Pelton, John Bigelow,
George Smith and Abram Hewitt enter the room and move toward
the few empty chairs at the table.
Welcome gentlemen...Sit, have a
bite to eat.
Poor Mr. Hayes - He never stood a
chance against you.
The Ohio Governor was a worthy
He may be worthy, dear brother, but
he was no match for your popularity
with the voters.
I have a lively new pink silk and
will wear it for your Inaugural
Ball... I claim the first dance
Samuel flushes and places his arm around Mary and gives her a
gentle squeeze. She looks at him and grins.
I'd be honored Sarah.
You are popular with all the ladies
Samuel rolls his eyes at his sister and she leans into him
and kisses him on the cheek. William walks over and leans
into Samuel's ear. The ladies are busy chattering amongst
Mother looks tired Uncle.
She's had a long day William -
entertaining the ladies so she can
marry me off.
I have made no such effort.
Uh - huh.
Perhaps you should marry...Sara
would make a wonderful First Lady."
Be that as it may dear sister but,
she does not make my heart thump.
Samuel puts his hand to his heart to imitate a heart thump.
Make your heart thump? If you are
in dire need to have your heart
thump before you marry, dear
brother - may I suggest you try
running quickly up and down the
stairs a few times.
Mary pushes back her chair and stands.
Where are you going?
Ladies tea and dessert in the
The ladies push back their chairs, stand and follow Mary out
of the room. William Pelton, John Bigelow, George Smith and
Abram Hewitt change seats to move closer to Samuel.
Does she know you mean to give her
the position as your Hostess?
Not yet...I keep telling her my
work leaves me with no time for a
John Bigelow bangs on his glass with his fork and raises his
A toast...to my best friend and
confidant -our newly elected
19 EXT - GRAMERCY PARK - STREET - NIGHT 19
The spectators cheer and chant Tilden's name.
CROWD IN STREET
Tilden, Tilden, Tilden.
The reporters continue to write in their pads. REPORTER 1
leans into REPORTER 2.
REPORTER 1 NYC
John Reid from the Times says the
election is still in doubt.
REPORTER 2 NYC
Wishful thinking on his part. He
and the Times editors despise the
REPORTER 1 NYC
The Governor took down Boss Tweed
and reformed the Canal Ring.
REPORTER 2 NYC
Reid's bitter and hates all
Democrats. He blames them for his
wartime stint in Anderson prison.
REPORTER 1 NYC
The Times can print whatever they
want...Tilden's got the victory.
20 EXT. NEW YORK CITY - NEWSPAPER ROW - NIGHT 20
Establishing shots. Zoom in on New York Times five story
SUPERED: New York Times Building - Eleven P.M.
21 INT. NEW YORK TIMES - PRESS ROOM - NIGHT 21
John Reid, John Foord, EDWARD CARY and other REPORTERS are at
their desks in the newsroom. John Reid stands and walks
toward the blackboard where the election results are posted.
A MESSENGER enters the room and hands Reid a note. Reid
unfolds the paper and reads it silently, then holds the note
in the air for the others to see.
This is from the Democratic
Chairman Barnum of Connecticut.
He's asking what news we have on
He's probably checking with all the
Don't you see? - the Democrats are
in doubt...We owe it to the
Republicans to stall even if just
for a day.
How are you going to stall the news
that Hayes lost by over two-hundred
fifty thousands votes?
The worse that can happen is other
news organizations will question
Reid scribbles the headline on a note pad and holds it up for
the others to read.
INSERT: A Doubtful Election.
BACK ON SCENE
Another MESSENGER comes in and hands off a telegram to Edward
Cary and leaves. Edward reads the message while Reid stands
at the blackboard and studies the returns by state.
Abram Hewitt is inquiring too. What
is our response?
Reid takes an eraser and wipes off the numbers below the
Hayes and Tilden's columns under the states of Florida, South
Carolina and Louisiana and chalks in question marks in the
One moment...Tell them Tilden has
won by none.
Are you serious?
It's worth a try.
Edward Cary takes a moment to review the numbers on the
I don't know if I'm ready to put my
reputation or the paper's on the
line for a stunt.
Tilden is still shy by one
Reid hurriedly walks away from Edward Cary toward his desk to
retrieve his coat. He puts it on and walks back across the
newsroom floor. Annoyed, Edward Cary checks his watch for the
Where are you going at this hour?
I must find Chairman Chandler and
tell him...Use the Doubtful
Chandler will think you're insane?
Maybe so, but he should at least be
made aware of the discrepancy.
Reid walks toward the door to exit.
JOHN REID (cont'd)
I'll change his mind about
It's the middle of the night John.
He'll be asleep.
Then I shall wake him...
SUPERED: November 8, 1876: New York Times goes to press with
a Editorial headline, "A Doubtful Election"
22 EXT. NEW YORK CITY - FIFTH AVENUE HOTEL - NIGHT 22
SUPERED: November 8, 1876, Fifth Avenue Hotel, Republican
John Reid rides his horse to the front of the Fifth Avenue
Hotel, dismounts and hitches the reins to a post and scurries
into the hotel.
23 INT. NEW YORK CITY - FIFTH AVENUE HOTEL - LOBBY - NIGHT23
John Reid walks fast through the empty lobby past the front
desk. There are TWO HOTEL CLERKS working and at first,
neither takes notice of John, but the older of the two
clerks' looks up and glances at Reid as he passes by. The
older clerk raises his eyebrow, and glances at the clock
mounted on the lobby wall. Reid continues his trek down the
REPUBLICAN ELECTION NATIONAL COMMITTEE ROOM
He steps over papers strewn on the floor and finds servants
cleaning and resetting the rooms tables and chairs. John Reid
turns and walks into the
Sees WILLIAM CHANDLER a small man wearing an immense pair of
goggles, his hat drawn down over his ears, a greatcoat with a
heavy military cloak. He has a gripsack slung over his
shoulder and a New York Tribune newspaper in his hand. He
calls out to John.
SUPERED: William Chandler, Republican National Committee man
from New Hampshire
Mr. Reid is that you?
Is that you Mr. Chandler?
Yes, I have just arrived from New
Hampshire by train.
William Chandler looks at him wearily, his eyes bloodshot
from lack of sleep and he holds up his newspaper.
Have you seen the Tribune? It's a
disaster. Damn the men who brought
this disaster upon the Republican
INSERT: Tribune newspaper, November 8, 1876 "TILDEN VICTORY"
BACK ON SCENE
The Republican Party has sustained
no disaster. If you would only keep
your heads up here there is no
question of the election of
President Hayes. He has been fairly
and honestly elected.
Allow me to show you...
The two men sit at a desk and go over the results.
It's iffy...What are you suggesting
Immediately telegraph the leading
Republicans, men in authority in
South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana,
California, Oregon, and Nevada.
I cannot authorize this...We must
go wake Zach.
The two men walk down the
And search for Zach's room.
It's one of these rooms.
I must speak with him...
William Chandler brushes off Reid's urgency.
He's probably drunk and asleep.
If I need his permission to send
wires to the Southern Republican
Party leaders then I must wake him.
The New York Times has not declared
Tilden's win and Hayes may still
have a chance if we hurry.
Ah -think this is it.
William Chandler with the anxious John Reid behind him,
approaches Zach's hotel room door and knocks on the door.
William Chandler puts his face to the door.
WILLIAM CHANDLER (cont'd)
Zach...It's me...I need for you to
24 HOTEL ROOM 24
ZACH CHANDLER lies on his bed dressed in a rumpled bed
nightshirt and cap, asleep. There's an empty whiskey bottle
next to his bed on the floor. He hears the knocking, stirs
and puts a pillow over his head.
SUPERED: Zachariah Chandler, Chairman Republican National
Go away - I'm sleeping.
Reid joins William Chandler and helps with the door knocking.
It's William. Please Zach - wake up
and answer the door. There is
important news concerning the
outcome of the election.
Zach, annoyed, struggles to get out of the bed and walks to
the door and peeks through the peephole.
What is it?... And who is that with
John Reid the Managing Editor from
the New York Times. He says he has
news about the election.
ZACH CHANDLER (V.O.)
We lost dam it - go away.
Reid, gets impatient with the conversation through the closed
Sorry to wake you Chairman - but
the news I have may change the
outcome of the election. Please sir
can I come in and discuss this with
With an audible sigh, Zach fumbles with the door and opens
it. He walks back toward his bed and motions with his hand
for the men to enter. John Reid and William Chandler enter
and stand just inside the door as Zach lies back down on the
bed, placing an arm to cover his eyes from the light.
What's so important that you woke
me at this hour?
Sir, there's a chance to turn the
tables on Tilden to favor Hayes.
After a careful examination of the
results by myself and the editorial
staff at the Times, we - well I -
realized that the Southern States
of South Carolina, Florida and
Louisiana are in doubt.
Are you a madman? Tilden didn't win
by just a few votes - he crushed
In the popular he did, but not the
Electoral. These three states are
still under Reconstruction and
So...oh you mean Republican control
because of Grant.
John Reid sees that Zach Chandler is catching on. Zach sits
up in his bed and turns to stare out the window.
Hayes still has a shot to take it
by Electoral College if we can
convince the Republican state
leaders to count Hayes as the
A little to late for that since the
counts have already been
reported...What is it you want from
Your permission to send wires to
the Republican Chairmen of these
states to make them aware.
Zach ponders the request for a moment.
Oregon, Nevada and California.
Zach contemplates the request for a moment and questions
You must really despise Tilden to
be doing this.
He's a Democrat and that alone is
Zach stands up and approaches Reid.
Very well. Go ahead - Do whatever
you think is necessary - Although I
think you crackbrained and wasting
The press can be a very powerful
If there is more than one newspaper
reporting it -
Thank you Chairman for allowing me
Zach and Reid shake hands and Reid turns, giving W.E Chandler
a quick nod, and walks briskly out of the hotel room. Zach
leans over into William Chandler's ear.
Follow him William and report his
actions back to me.
25 HOTEL LOBBY 25
Moments later, William Chandler rushes through the lobby and
catches up with John Reid. They walk to the
HOTEL TELEGRAPH OFFICE
and find a Closed sign on the window. John Reid walks to an
empty desk and pulls out a chair and sits down. He searches
for a pen and some paper in the desk and finds it. William
Chandler stands behind him for a moment then sits in the
chair next to the desk. Reid hands him the pen and paper.
HOTEL REGISTRATION DESK
The older desk clerk that had observed Reid earlier, strains
to listen to John and William Chandler's conversation. The
younger clerk looks up at his boss curiously.
OLDER HOTEL CLERK
(to younger hotel Clerk)
Mind your business.
I'll dictate, you write.
How will we send these? The office
The main wire office will be open.
We must hurry. Write this, To D.H.
Chamberlain - South Carolina. Hayes
is elected if we can carry South
Carolina. Can you hold your State?
Answer immediately. Sign it
Chairman, Zach Chandler...We'll use
the same message to the other
After William Chandler finishes writing the message he and
John Reid get up and walk toward the hotel's front entrance
door and exit.
LOBBY HOTEL REGISTRATION DESK
The older hotel clerk watches John Reid and William Chandler
exit the hotel. He walks to a nearby coat rack and pulls his
coat off the stand. He exits the hotel.
26 EXT. NEW YORK CITY - TELEGRAPH OFFICE - NIGHT 26
John Reid and William Chandler ride their horses to the 23rd
Street Western Union office. Both dismount, tie their horse
reins to a hitching post and walk toward the building
27 INT. NEW YORK CITY - TELEGRAPH OFFICE - NIGHT 27
A TELEGRAPH CLERK behind the counter takes the paper from
William Chandler and reads it silently.
Is there a problem?
Who will pay for these?
The Republican Party committee.
I'll authorize them.
I'll need approval directly from
Chairman Zack Chandler to send
Reid grabs the invoice from the clerk and signs his name to
the invoice and writes down an account number. He pushes the
paper back to the clerk.
Use my account at the New York
The clerk pauses for a moment, examines the signature on the
invoice, turns and walks over to the telegraph machine and
proceeds to send the wires.
28 INT. TILDEN MANSION - DINING ROOM - DAY 28
Mary is seated at the dining room table having breakfast. She
beams with delight when Samuel enters the room and and seats
himself in a chair. A MAID walks over to Samuel and pours him
a cup of coffee.
SUPERED: November 8, 1876 - the morning after the election.
Anything else, Mr. President?
Good morning indeed. What time did
you get to bed last night?
Later than my usual and for the
record I am the President elect.
A mere technicality.
I didn't get a chance last night to
It was my pleasure.
You will be my Hostess at the White
Yes...you can't be First Lady
you're my sister.
What will I tell Sarah? If only you
would propose to her, I have great
confidence she would accept.
I have no time for husbandry
duties. Nor do I wish to marry
Why not? She is in perfect social
standing and comes from a good
If you accept you'll be able to
work on the women's rights cause.
If free slave men can vote - women
should be able to.
You know I agree with you. Stop
arguing and say yes.
I'll do it for the women.
George Smith, enters the room with a glum expression on his
face. Without saying a word, he walks over to Samuel and
hands him a few telegraph wires. Before reading them, Samuel
invites George Smith to have breakfast with him and Mary and
sets the telegrams aside.
Good Morning Mr. Smith...
Good Morning Sir.
Come, sit - have some breakfast.
They can wait a few moments.
Oh - he doesn't say that often Mr.
Smith. Better sit before he changes
I'm not that bad.
George Smith sits in a chair across from Samuel and Mary. A
butler walks to the table and pours George Smith a cup of
coffee. Mary notices George is restless.
Mr. Smith are you all right?
A small concern.
You've just been elected President
and already bad news?
Samuel picks up a few of the telegrams and reads them. George
Smith sits back in his chair and anxiously waits for Samuel's
response. There is none. Smith glances at Mary for a moment
then looks back to Samuel. Samuel places the telegrams back
on the table and sips his coffee. Susan and William Pelton
enter the room and seat themselves at the table.
(to George Smith)
What other editors are reporting
So far, just the New York
Times...It's rumored that the
managing editor John Reid is behind
Who is John Reid?
I've heard of him...He's one of
their night editors.
I talked with an old friend of mine
early this morning from the Fifth
Avenue hotel. He says Reid was in
the lobby late last night
conspiring with William Chandler.
The Chairman of the Republican
No - Zach Chandler is the Chairman.
William is another not related.
Samuel places the telegrams down and resumes eating his
breakfast as if nothing is wrong. Mary and William take the
telegrams from the table and read them.
A Doubtful Election? How dare they
report such lies.
Probably a stunt to sell more
newspapers...All the other papers
have declared Uncle's victory.
You and I will visit headquarters
George Smith stands.
I'll ready your carriage and
George Smith exits and the others remain at the table eating
Hayes must have conceded by now.
I'm not concerned and none of you
should be either...Susan I would
like you to come to Washington too.
I'd love to - thank you Uncle.
You will enjoy your time there.
It will be a grand adventure
William, will you come to?
No, my business is here.
William is right. A man has to take
care of his own affairs.
29 EXT. OHIO - HAYES HOME - STREET - DAY 29
SUPERED: Hayes first informal concession
A crowd of displeased Hayes Supporters stand by the main
entrance and listen while Hayes talks to reporters.
REPORTER 1 OHIO
The New York Times claims this race
is not yet decided. Any comments
I've heard the rumors - though I
think we are defeated in spite of
recent good news.
REPORTER 2 OHIO
Does that mean you are conceding?
I am in the opinion that the
Democrats have carried the country
and Tilden has been elected.
Some of Hayes supporters in earshot jeer at his response.
While a smaller group of TILDEN SUPPORTERS wave their signs
What now Governor? Governor, one
Hayes, not yet wanting to confirm his concession, waves to
the crowd and walks back toward the house.
That's it for me boys. Thank you
all for your support.
Rutherford Hayes walks back toward his house.
30 INT. NEW YORK CITY - FIFTH AVENUE HOTEL - BALLROOM - DAY 30
SUPERED: November 8, 1876 - Day after election. New York
City, Republican Headquarters at the Fifth Avenue Hotel
Zach Chandler stands near John Reid and William Chandler
inside Republican headquarters. The three men review
telegrams. Several lingering CAMPAIGN WORKERS busy themselves
in the room and chat amongst themselves.
Several other newspapers across the
country will follow our lead and
report Hayes may overturn Tilden by
the Electoral College.
Florida sent a favorable response.
Have you heard anything from South
Carolina and Louisiana?
Zach hands Reid the wires from the two other states.
Strangely they are favorable too.
And the western states?
One vote in the electoral is all we
With nineteen in question, your
scheme to overturn this election
will cause a lot of trouble with
They'll get over it.
Two hundred and fifty four thousand
voters and Tammany Hall men will
want to hang you from the highest
Ha - Hayes will protect me.
Don't count on that.
31 EXT. NEW YORK CITY - EVERTTE HOUSE - STREET - DAY 31
SUPERED: Same day. Everett House Democratic Headquarters -
Congressman Abram Hewitt, Chairmen of Democratic National
Committe and John Bigelow help to sort out the count.
Samuel Tilden, William Pelton and the two body guards, make
their way through the CROWD of well wishers. Samuel greets
them with enthusiasm and shakes hands with several people
before entering the building.
32 INT. NEW YORK CITY - EVERTTE HOUSE - DAY 32
John Bigelow and Abram Hewitt review the returns. Samuel and
William enter the room and walk to them.
John Reid, of the New York Times is
So I've heard from another.
Mr. Smith's friend claims he was in
the editorial room when Reid
received a dispatch from Barnum and
Magone asking them to confirm the
This is obviously a combination of
Reid's bitter partisanship combined
with a gambler's wish to encourage
the Republicans to try to steal
What are the Democratic leaders
from the southern states reporting?
Louisiana reported and confirmed we
have defeated Hayes by some twenty
Then the Republicans and Mr. Reid
are wasting everyone's time.
33 EXT. PHILADELPHIA PA - EXHIBITION OF 1876 - MAIN HALL - DAY33
SUPERED: November 8, 1876 - Centennial International
Exhibition of 1876, the first official World's Fair in the
United States. President Grant is in attendance for the
PRESIDENT GRANT is with some FRIENDS walking through the main
hall of the fair. A SOLIDER walks up to Grant and hands him a
telegraph, salutes him and walks away.
President Grant reads the message, folds it up and tucks it
in his jacket.
Election returns confirm Tilden
will replace me as President.
Although a democrat he's a good
34 EXT. WASHINGTON DC - WHITE HOUSE - STREET - NIGHT 34
SOLDIERS mounted on horses are lined up along in military
style. The COMMANDER of the unit walks to his horse and
climbs up into the saddle. He motions with his arm to move
his troops forward. A few PEOPLE strolling by the watch the
soldiers trot away.
35 INT. WASHINGTON DC - WHITE HOUSE - PRESIDENTS OFFICE - NIGHT35
Secretary of War, JAMES DONALD CAMERON and President Grant's
personal assistant ORVILLE E BABCOCK are talking by a desk.
The President must be advised of
our actions. Sending these men
south to the disputed states under
reconstruction without his
permission won't sit well with him.
Tell me - what do you know about
this John Reid fellow from the New
Heard he hates Democrats.
Both men laugh.
All joking aside I see the worst
case scenario as Hayes and Tilden
canceling each other out and I'll
get to keep my job serving Grant in
a third term.
36 EXT. GRAMERCY PARK - NIGHT 36
Crowds swell and Horse and Carriages arrive dropping off HIGH
SOCIETY PEOPLE for Tilden's victory party.
37 INT. TILDEN MANSION - DINING - NIGHT 37
Mary is busy with the staff making preparations for the
Samuel, dressed in formal attire, checks himself in the
mirror. A BUTLER is assisting him.
Mary enters the area and begins to greet Society Guests.
Samuel walks down the stair toward Mary.
Mr. President elect you are
supposed to wait to make your
Samuel places his arm around his sister and gives her a kiss
on her cheek.
Why wait? I know most of these
Hello - so good to see you.
(to some of the guests)
No thank you's needed. I wish
Mother and Father were here to see
(to one of the guest's)
Samuel and Mary can hear the crowd cheering from outside.
Aunt Polly too. I have fond
memories of her as a child with all
the books she brought me.
38 EXT. GRAMERCY PARK - STREET -NIGHT 38
The park is now roped off to hold back the curious and upbeat
crowds. Carriages continue to arrive with more passengers.
Samuel walks down the stairs to the rope line and shake hands
with people in the crowd. Tilden supporters hold up their
campaign signs while others wave their hats and
handkerchiefs. There are several reporters present following
Samuel as he works the rope line including John Reid.
REPORTER 1 NYC
Governor, I mean President Tilden,
a moment please.
REPORTER 2 NYC
Mr. Tilden, how's it feel to be
Mary walks out to watch Samuel.
Samuel acknowledges their questions with a wave of his hand,
smile and continues to walk the rope line. For a brief
second, he catches the eyes of John Reid. He stares at him
for a moment and then tries to ignore him. John Reid steps
closer and calls out to him.
Mr. Tilden, John Reid from the New
York Times...What say you of
Chairman Chandler's claims you are
short in Electoral College?
Mary see's John Reid and becomes visibly annoyed.
The crowd tones down to a low whispers and some boo John
Reid's question. Samuel stops, turns back and stares directly
into Reid's eyes for a moment, and then turns his attention
back to his supporters. The crowd whispers with chatter.
Samuel holds his arms in the air to quiet them. After a few
moments the noise level lessens.
My election victory was due to the
issues. I received a great number
of Republican votes. The election
was decided in part on my record as
Governor of New York as the
closeness of the contest shows.
The opposition I had to overcome,
well - I did not expect a large
majority in the Electoral College.
All will be fine...That is all for
The crowd cheers Samuel's remarks. Samuel holds his arms in
the air for victory and the crowd cheers louder and start to
chant his name again and wave their campaign signs, hats and
handkerchiefs. Samuel bows to his encouraging audience and
puts his hand to his heart and thumps his chest lightly by
his heart in a sign to thank them for their support. The
crowd roars even louder. He turns and climbs the stairs.
Mary links her arm with Samuels and both wave to the crowd.
Your friends and family are vying
for your attention.
As Mary and Samuel turn to exit into the house, Mary turns
her head back and locks eyes with John Reid. Samuel notices
Ignore him...He needs to sell
newspapers with sensational
Damned Republicans must have sent
Ignore him - he's just doing the
job they pay him to do.
Reporters gather around John Reid.
REPORTER 1 NYC
Did something change in the poll
REPORTER 2 NYC
Tilden beat Hayes in a landslide
and Hayes conceded. Reid is
It doesn't matter if Tilden has a
million more popular votes. He
falls short by one Electoral Vote
boys and that one vote will elect
Some of the crowd overhear what John Reid stated to the
newsmen and boo him.
39 INT. NEW YORK CITY - EVERETT HOUSE - DAY 39
SUPERED: November 9, 1876 - New York City, Everett House -
Democratic Headquarters. Tammany Hall's New Boss Honest John
Campaign workers are busy counting election returns. JOHN
KELLY enters the room holding a rolled up newspaper in his
hand. He is accompanied by TWO LARGE IRISH BODYGUARDS. They
wait by the door and Kelly walks over to John Bigelow,
William Pelton and Abram Hewitt. All three men take notice of
him but keep their focus on election results at the tote
board. John Kelly taps a rolled up newspaper against the palm
of his hand. In his usual confident gruff voice he announces
HONEST JOHN KELLY
Good morning Gentlemen.
John Bigelow, somewhat annoyed, continues to review the tote
Good morning Mr. Kelly. We were all
wondering when you'd show up.
HONEST JOHN KELLY
Busy with Tammany business Mr.
Bigelow. Where is Governor Tilden?
I need to speak with him.
He'll be here shortly.
Noting the negative mood, John Kelly decides to change the
tone of the conversation with some comical sarcasm.
HONEST JOHN KELLY
I have big dollars on this
I'm sure Governor Tilden has no
concern with your wager, Mr. Kelly.
Kelly realizes his attempt at good humor has backfired and he
places his newspaper in his side jacket pocket. He raises
both of his hands, palms up in a noncommittal manner.
HONEST JOHN KELLY
Relax Congressman - my ten-thousand
is on Tilden's win - not his loss.
Bigelow lightens his mood and relaxes his stance.
Then your wager is safe.
HONEST JOHN KELLY
How many votes are in dispute?
It appears we are shy just one
Electoral vote in the south needed
to claim victory.
Not all of the states laws are
bound by party loyalty or popular
HONEST JOHN KELLY
We have made arrangements to send
our best party leaders from the
North to disputed Southern states.
Three are still under Republican
control and reconstruction. If they
are planning to cheat us this is
where they'll most likely do it.
We could us your help to organize
HONEST JOHN KELLY
You'll have my full support but as
you know the south is out of my
Good to hear. The cheats with
Grant's Authority will try anything
to swindle their way to victory.
Samuel enters the room and pauses for a moment to look at the
two Tammany Hall guards. He gives them a slight nod and walks
over to the tote board. Samuel is in good spirits and reaches
out to shake John Kelly's hand.
Good to see you Mr. Kelly.
HONEST JOHN KELLY
You too Mr. President elect.
How is the family?
HONEST JOHN KELLY
Good --all good. I was just saying
if there is anything I can do.
Our friends in Louisiana need our
moral support and my personal
endorsement. Bayard, Thurman,
Barnum, Randall, McDonald
Dorsheimer, Kerand and a group of
others are on their way to New
Orleans as we speak. A strong
demonstration there will defeat the
designs of the Returning Board.
HONEST JOHN KELLY
Henry Watterson will go to Florida
with Beck and McHenry. They are
requesting funds for reinforcements
to resist the radical pranks
expected. Coyle and a few others
left for South Carolina. Those
fiery zealots of the Republican
Party may attempt to count me out,
but I don't think the better class
of the Republicans will permit it.
HONEST JOHN KELLY
Trust no Republican... Your reform
tactics, honorable as they are have
gained you many political enemies.
Yes - so it seems.
40 INT. HAYES HOUSE - LIBRARY - NIGHT 40
SUPERED: Hayes writes a concession in his diary.
Rutherford Hayes is sitting at his desk writing in his diary.
VARIOUS CUTS VIDEO AND PHOTO INSERTS: of POLITICAL MEN
boarding trains for the southern states. Add to this some
historic stills of slaves and white men at the polls with
guns and signs for the candidates.
NOTE to DIRECTOR: This dialog is the actual words written by
Hayes - cut out what can be but leave in his conceding to
RUTHERFORD HAYES (V.O.)
Saturday, November 11, 1876 - The
election has resulted in the defeat
of the Republicans after a very
close contest. Tuesday evening a
small party assembled in our parlor
to hear the news. General Mitchell
and Laura, our boys, Birch and
Webb, Governor Dennison, a reporter
of the Chicago Tribune, Mr.
Huntley, W. K. Rogers, Rutherford
Platt, and a few others at times.
Emily Platt, Dr. Fullerton, and
Fanny. We all felt that the State
of New York would decide the
contest. Our last dispatches from
our committee in New York were very
encouraging -full of confidence.
Mr. A. B. Cornell, Chairman New
York State Committee, Said in an
experience of ten years he had
never seen prospects brighter on
the eve of an election. But we all
knew - warned by the enormous
registration in the cities of New
York and Brooklyn and other facts-
that we must not count confidently
on carrying the State. The good
omen from Ithaca was accepted with
a quiet cheerfulness. Almost at
the same instant came a gain of
thirty-six in Ballville, the
township nearest my own home. This
was good. Then came, one at a time,
towns and precincts in Ohio. The
comparison was made with the vote
in 1875, instead of with the
of October last. This was
confusing. But soon we began to
feel that Ohio was not doing as
well as we had hoped. The effect
was depressing. I commanded without
much effort my usual composure and
cheerfulness. Lucy felt it more
keenly. Without showing her
depression, she busied herself
about refreshments for our guests,
and soon disappeared. I found her
soon after abed with a headache. I
comforted her by consoling talk;
she was cheerful and resigned, but
did not return to the parlor.
Without difficulty or much effort I
became the most composed and
cheerful of the party. At- P. M.,
or thereabouts, we heard that in
some two hundred districts of New
York City, Tilden had about twenty
thousand majority, which indicated
fifty thousand in the city. The
returns received from the rural
districts did not warrant the
belief that they would overcome
such a large city majority. From
that time, I never supposed there
was a chance for Republican
success. I went to bed at 12 to 1
o'clock. Talked with Lucy,
consoling her with such topics as
readily occurred of a nature to
make us feel satisfied on merely
personal grounds with the result.
We soon fell into a refreshing
sleep and the affair seemed over.
Both of us felt more anxiety about
the South - about the colored
people especially- than about
anything else sinister in the
result. My hope of a sound
currency will somehow be realized;
civil service reform will be
delayed; but the great injury is in
the South. There, the Amendments
will be nullified, disorder will
continue, prosperity to both whites
and colored people will be pushed
off for years. But I took my way to
my office as usual
morning, and was master of myself
and contented and cheerful. During
the day the news indicated that we
(had) carried California; soon
after, other Pacific States; all
New England except Connecticut; all
of the free States West except
Indiana; and it dawned on us that
with a few Republican States in the
South to which we were fairly
entitled, we would yet be the
victors. From Wednesday afternoon
the city and the whole country has
been full of excitement and
anxiety. People have been up and
down several times a day with the
Wednesday evening on a false rumor
about New York, a shouting
multitude rushed to my house and
called me out with rousing cheers.
I made a short talk, saying (as
reported by the papers): "Friends. -
If you will keep order for one half
minute, I will say all that is
proper to say at this time. In the
very close political contest, which
is just drawing to a close, it is
impossible, at so early a time, to
obtain the result, owing to the
incomplete telegraph communications
through some of the Southern and
Western States. "I accept your call
as a desire on your part for the
success of the Republican Party.
If it should not be successful, I
shall surely have the pleasure of
living for the next year and a half
among some of my most ardent and
enthusiastic friends, as you have
demonstrated tonight. From that
time, the news has fluctuated just
enough to prolong the suspense and
to enhance the interest. At this
time the Republicans are claiming
the election by one electoral vote.
With Louisiana, South Carolina, and
Florida, we have carried one
hundred and eighty-five [electoral
votes]. This creates great
uneasiness. Both sides are sending
to Louisiana prominent men to watch
the canvassing of the votes. All
thoughtful people are brought to
consider the imperfect machinery
provided for electing the
President. No doubt we shall,
warned by this danger, provide, by
amendments of the Constitution, or
by proper legislation, against a
recurrence of the danger.
41 EXT. WASHINGTON DC - WHITE HOUSE - STREET - DAY 41
SUPERED: President Grant and First Lady Julia Dent Grant
Large CROWDS of Hayes and Tilden supporters are marching,
with political signs in support of their candidates.
HORSE and CARRIAGES with their DRIVERS fill the streets.
President Grant's carriage arrives and turns into the
WHITE HOUSE DRIVEWAY
And parks. Two SOLDIERS walk over the to carriage, pull down
the carriage stairs and open the door. Grant steps out and
helps his wife JULIA GRANT out. They walk toward the White
House entrance and the carriage drives off.
42 INT. WASHINGTON DC - WHITE HOUSE - OFFICE - DAY 42
President Grant enters his office and walks to the window to
watch the crowds of people. He lights a cigar and takes a few
puffs then walks back to his desk and sits down. He notices a
telegram on his desk.
ORVILLE BABCOCK enters the room and walks toward Grant.
Would you please explain why my
Secretary of War sent troops
without my permission?
They were needed Sir.
Grant leans back in his chair, puffs on his cigar. Then he
pushes the telegram toward Orville Babcock.
Please read the telegram from
General Sherman out loud.
Orville Babcock picks up the telegram from Grant's desk.
Yes Sir...The Secretary of War,
Cameron, has ordered me to send
soldiers to Florida. Please
On whose authority was this
Governor Hayes' Electoral count is
One-Hundred-Sixty-Six with nineteen
votes still undetermined.
Tilden's count remains at One
Hundred-Eighty-Four. Tilden needs
just one and Hayes needs all
I thought -
One moment. I do not want to lose
my train of thought.
Orville walks to a desk and retrieves a pad and pencil then
walks back toward the President's desk and sits in a chair
cloes-by. Grant takes a few final puffs on his cigar,
slightly rocks his chair back and stares blankly for a few
Address it to General W.T. Sherman.
Instruct General Auger, in
Louisiana, and General Ruger in
Grant waits for Orville to finish writing.
PRESIDENT GRANT (cont'd)
Tell them to be vigilant with the
force under their command and to
preserve peace and good order.
He pauses for another moment.
PRESIDENT GRANT (cont'd)
See to it that the legal Boards of
Canvassers are unmolested in the
performance of their duties. Should
there be any grounds of suspicion
for fraudulent counting on either
Grant looks directly at his Orville and says sternly,
PRESIDENT GRANT (cont'd)
it should be denounced at once.
He waits for his Orville to finish writing.
Is that it Sir?
Orville stands and starts to walk out of the room.
I'll get right on this.
Mr. Babcock - No man worthy of the
office for President would be
willing to hold the office if
counted in or placed there by
fraud. Either Party can afford to
be disappointed in the result, but
the country cannot afford to have
the results tainted by the
suspicion of illegal or false
Orville pauses for a moment and watches President Grant rise
from his chair and walk around to the front of his desk
toward him, still puffing on his stubby cigar.
Add a post script...
Tell the General to keep it honest
and to make sure the colored men of
the South are treated with respect.
Orville Babcock turns and starts to walk away again.
Don't you dare ever go behind my
No - I mean yes Sir.
43 EXT. OHIO - HAYES MANSION - STREET - NIGHT 43
A large and unruly crowd of Hayes and Tilden supporters have
gathered at the Hayes estate. Several REPORTERS wait with
them for Hayes to come outside. A few of the Tilden
supporters start to push and shove the Hayes people.
TILDEN SUPPORTERS OHIO
Hayes lost and must concede the
HAYES SUPPORTER 1 OHIO
Tilden ain't won nothing yet! The
votes ain't all counted!
TILDEN SUPPORTERS OHIO
They're counted and Tilden has more
than a quarter million more votes.
HAYES SUPPORTER 1 OHIO
Doesn't matter if he has a million
more votes- He needs another
elector - without is stinkin'
democrats are out.
The Tilden Supporter throws a punch at the Hayes Supporer and
the two wrestle each other to the ground. A crowd gathers
around them and the reporters move in closer.
REPORTER 1 OHIO
This kind of action will sell
thousands of papers.
44 INT. OHIO - HAYES MANSION - DINING ROOM - NIGHT 44
While the melee commences outside inside the mansion Hayes
and his wife Lucy are seated at the dining room table. Two of
their children, FANNY their nine year old daughter and SCOTT
their six year old son are with them at the table. They hear
the commotion erupting outside. Hayes tries his best to
These people fight for your
You're the President?
I'm not going.
Children, no one is going anywhere
right now. Finish your lunch.
Mind your father.
They are disrupted when they glass breaking.
HAYES SUPPORTER 1 OHIO (V.O.)
Governor Hayes - Come outside and
talk with us!
Rutherford - Tell them to stop
shouting. They are frightening the
Little Scott jumps up in his own defense and runs to his
I'm not afraid!
Hayes affectionately pats his son on the head and senses his
wife's fears. Rutherford he pulls his chair away from the
table, stands and walks toward the
To the front door and Scott trails behind him. Hayes stops
and firmly turns Scott around.
Back to the table young man and
finish your lunch.
45 EXT. OHIO - HAYES MANSION - STREET - NIGHT 45
Hayes walks down the path to the street. His supporters cheer
him while the Tilden supporters are rude and jeer. Hayes
holds up his hands for silence from the crowd.
Friends, if you will keep order for
me half a minute - I will say all
that is proper to say at this time.
The crowd quiets to a whispering hush and Hayes waits until
there is silence for him to continue. The reporters ready
their cameras on tri-pods while others scribble notes on note
Thank you all for coming... In a
very close political contest, it is
impossible at so early a time, to
obtain a result. The telegram
communications from some of the
southern and western states are
HAYES SUPPORTER OHIO
More cheers and jeers fill the air. Hayes again holds up his
hands up for silence.
I accept your call as a desire on
your part for the success of the
Republican party. If it should not
be successful, however, I shall
surely have the pleasure of living
for the next years among some of my
most ardent and enthusiastic
friends, as you have demonstrated
The Hayes supporters cheer again while Tilden supporters
remain respectfully quiet. Hayes waves to the crowd and then
turns and walks back toward the house.
46 INT. TILDEN MANSION - LIBRARY - NIGHT 46
Samuel is seated at his office desk reading a document he has
just finished writing.
DIRECTORS NOTE: Can be edited down...INSERT VARIOUS CUTS:
PHOTOS and VIDEO of PEOPLE in the streets protesting in
different cities around the country.
Thanksgiving Proclamation - The
unfailing mercies of God of which
another year has given witness,
call us to renew our acknowledgment
of Him in thanksgiving and prayer.
We are specially reminded of His
protection, in the absence of any
great disaster or calamity
throughout the Commonwealth; and of
His bounty, in the large and
generous returns of nature. Let us
rejoice in the spirit of order and
of charity and of the hopefulness
which has pervaded all classes
under the depression in the
industries and trade, and in the
growth of the public sentiment
toward wise and humane methods of
dealing with want and suffering.
Let us give thanks for the
maintenance of our social and
religious institutions in their
integrity, and improve the Divine
blessing upon all efforts in behalf
of good government and a true
morality. In common with the people
of the other States of the Union,
we recall, at this time, the
blessings which we hold by
inheritance. It becomes us, with
them, to gratefully and humbly
acknowledge the God of our fathers,
whose mercies have been from
generation to generation,
beseeching Him for the continuous
of His favor to the nation of His
planting, that He may not "deliver
our glory unto another." I do,
therefore, set apart and appoint
Thursday the 30th day of November,
recommending to the people that on
that day they put aside their usual
employments, and in their homes and
in their respective places of
worship, render thanks to Almighty
God for His mercies to us as
individuals and as a State. Done at
the Capitol, in the City of Albany,
this sixth day of November, in the
year of our Lord one thousand eight
hundred and seventy six.
BACK ON SCENE
Satisfied with the proclamation, Samuel signs it.
Am I disturbing you?
Not at all. What's on your mind?
Thought we might take a carriage
ride to Central Park.
Samuel takes the proclamation document from the desk.
I'll get my coat...A spirited ride
in the fresh air will do us both
The carriage is out back.
Samuel and John walk to George Smith's desk.
Here you are, Mr. Smith. It's
signed and ready for print.
Samuel slips his arms into his coat. John Bigelow picks up
See you later.
That's a catchy phrase.
I came up with it yesterday.
Samuel and John Bigelow walk toward the
And Samuel sneezes. Mary enters the room
You've got another cold. Where are
you going dressed like that?
Samuel reaches over and gives Mary a kiss on her cheek - then
sneezes again. He blows his nose into a handkerchief.
Frowning, Mary glances over at a butler who is standing off
to the side. Without a word, he walks to the rack and
retrieves a hat and scarf and brings them to Mary and she
wraps the scarf around Samuel's neck.
Samuel rolls his eyes.
47 EXT. CENTRAL PARK - STREET - DAY 47
SUPERED: Central Park, New York City
Samuel has the horse reins and he trots the horses at a
steady pace. John Bigelow holds the newspaper and reads it
aloud to Samuel.
Nip and Tuck. Tilden still has one
hundred-eighty-four votes to Hayes'
votes are still undecided.
They left out I won by a quarter
Bigelow grabs the side of carriage when Samuel takes a sharp
You are making it most difficult to
stay in my seat.
Samuel slows the horses and carriage to a slow walk.
Bigelow relaxes his grip, straightens the newspaper and
continues to read.
It says here - Tilden's a most
accomplished and astute politician -
less confiding and more distrustful
A man of modest, unobtrusive
personality - stooped and hence
looks smaller than he is - a small
boyish face - round head bent with
that sleepy droop in the left
eyelid - caused by Ptosis. He
dresses with plainness.
More distrustful than Grant?
Governor Marcy predicts you would
be President, except for your
Marcy said that?.
And more...He claims it is like
putting a two hundred-horse power
engine in a craft built for only
one hundred horse-power. He states
that you have too much mind for
Ha - I've said much worse about
Without warning, a black stallion spooks Samuel's horses when
it races by. CELESTE STAUFFER turns in her saddle and tips
her hat in apology for the upset.
Vivacious. I've never seen anything
My eye may droop but I am not
The two men laugh - Samuel snaps the reins against his
horses' backs and maneuvers the team to turn around.
48 EXT. WHITE HOUSE - STREET - DAY 48
Hundreds of PROTESTORS fill the sidewalks and march around
with Tilden and Hayes signs. Military men are lined up and
civilian horse and carriages drive by.
SUPERED: December 4, 1876 - No clear winner.
49 INT. WHITE HOUSE - OFFICE - DAY 49
President Grant stands by the window and observes the
protestors. Orville Babcock enters the room with a telegram.
Response from General Sherman, sir.
Without turning away from the window, Grant chomps on his
Read it aloud.
Disruption is being reported
throughout the union. The
Republican and Democratic parties
are both taking action in the
streets to resolve the issues
concerning which candidate will
Is that all?
It has also been reported that many
military veterans, even though out
of uniform are a threat.
President Grant turns and slams his hand down on his desk,
This country cannot afford another
Babcock places the telegram on the President's desk and walks
out of the office.
50 EXT. CAPITOL BUILDING - DRIVEWAY - DAY 50
SUPERED: Same Day at Capitol Building.
Several SENATORS and CONGRESSMEN walk with their AIDES toward
the building entrance and ignore and avoid PROTESTORS vying
for their attention.
51 INT. CAPITOL BUILDING - HOUSE FLOOR - DAY 51
Senators, Congressmen and their Aides enter the House
Chambers and go toward their seats. Congressman JOHN GOODE
JR. Democratic representative from Virginia enters the
Chamber with his AIDE walking behind him. John Goode taps a
folded up newspaper against his left palm and walks to SAMUEL
J. RANDALL who is in a conversation with a few other
(to his Aide)
When I signal, please read the
President Grant's statement out
The Aide walks away and John Goode Jr. moves to the front of
the room and clears his throat.
Excuse me Gentlemen... My Aide will
read a statement from President
John Goode signals with his hand for the Aide to begin
JOHN GOODE'S AIDE
President Grant and the Republicans
will have the regular army and the
Governors of the Democratic States
will have to call upon the militia
A buzz of voices fill the room.
Thank you. That will be all.
Speaker Randall walks to the
picks up his gavel and bangs it a few times. All in the room
begin to take their seats. John Goode walks to a seat near
the other Congressmen.
CONGRESSMAN 2, leans close to John Goode.
The fear amongst us is heightening
with the threats of violence
surrounding this election.
We must enforce the law.
Congressman 2 slips his hand into his jacket and pulls the
flap back to reveal a pistol.
The laws will not protect us from
those violent crazies in the
Goode puts his face inches away from the other man.
Is that necessary?
I'm not the only one. Several are
armed. You should do the same to
Speaker Randall, bangs his gavel to quiet the noisy room.
The House will come to order.
Within moments, the Congressmen are silent and take their
seats. John Goode stands.
Mister Speaker, one Party or
another must surrender or we must
John turns to face the assembly.
Are the Gentleman prepared for a
Several Congressmen rise to their feet.
The room fills with voices of noisy chatter. John Goode is
stunned by the quick and maddened response and slowly falls
back into his seat. Speaker Randall bangs his gavel several
times at the
Order! The House must come to
A Congressman leans into John Goode.
The newspapers are reporting Grant
wants a third term so he can lead
52 EXT. TALLAHASSEE FLORIDA - REPUBLICAN HEADQUARTERS - NIGHT52
SUPERED: Florida Republican Headquarter's - Governor Noyes,
William Chandler, Zach Chandler, General Ruger, General Lew
Wallace and Governor Marcellus Sterns arrive to cut deals
with the state's returning board.
A group of angry protestors, a mixture of WHITE and BLACK
MEN, surround Republican headquarters and wave political
signs for both Hayes and Tilden. SOLDIERS, dressed in
confederate uniforms, surround the social unrest. GOVERNOR
NOYES, William Chandler, Zach Chandler, GENERAL RUGER,
GENERAL LEW WALLACE and GOVERNOR MARCELLUS L. STERNS are
inside a horse carriage and moving through the crowd.
The PROTESTORS wave their campaign signs and shout
obscenities at the political men passing.
We will defend your Presidency!
TILDEN PROTESTOR 2
Tilden or blood!
The CARRIAGE DRIVER halts his horses at the barrier line
manned by the soldiers when he can go no further. The driver
leans back to talk to the men inside the coach.
CARRIAGE DRIVER FLORIDA
This is as far as I go.
The men look apprehensively at one another. After a moment of
hesitation, they begin, one by one, to exit the carriage.
A few of the soldiers rush over to the carriage and assist
the politicians and create a human barrier for Governor
Noyes, William Chandler, Zach Chandler, General Ruger,
General Lew Wallace and Governor Marcellus Sterns walk
through the barrier toward the front entrance
A few of the protestors manage to slip through the barriers
and race toward them. Much to their dismay they are quickly
halted by the soldiers and pushed back.
The rowdy crowd continues to rant and rave and shout their
obscenities at the politicians.
Tilden or Blood!
TILDEN PROTESTOR 2
Count our votes... We're being
Hayes won our state.
TILDEN PROTESTOR 2
You cheaters are trying to steal
Tilden's Presidency. Go home you
We have the military on our side.
The Carriage Driver maneuvers his horses and turns away from
the shouting throng of protestors. Zach Chandler notes the
insignia on the uniform of one the soldiers close to him.
Are you the commanding officer? You
should push these Tilden people
further down the road.
The officer grunts as he pushes a protestor back, and then
turns back to Zach Chandler.
FLORIDA SOLIDER 1
We're doing the best we can, sir,
without shooting them.
If you must shoot them to make them
move then shoot them.
I gave my men strict orders not to
do that Mr. Noyes, unless someone
fires upon them first.
Sterns turns to William Chandler.
This is going to cost the party
more than the two thousand you've
already paid. I will authorize your
Elector Certificates legal or not -
but the party will pay for this
Whatever it takes, Mr. Noyes.
Whateve it takes.
53 INT. FLORIDA - REPUBLICAN HEADQUARTERS - NIGHT 53
Governor Noyes, William Chandler, Zach Chandler, General
Ruger, General Lew Wallace and Governor Marcellus Sterns
enter through the front door. CAMPAIGN WORKERS are scattered
throughout the room.
We will need at least another five
thousand to be rendered soon. The
soldiers have to eat.
You'll get your money.
It's a small price to pay for a
GOVERNOR STERNS (TO ZACK)
I heard the Governor of Georgia is
here to represent the Democrats
with the State Board of Canvassers.
How many other treacherous
Democratic Statesmen arrived ahead
Also heard George Drew is suing for
a recount for the Florida
Governor's seat. Any chance he'll
Don't know but if he does that re
count will be as fair as the one
were doing for Hayes.
Sterns and Zach Chandler walk to an
And close the door behind them. Sterns walks to desk and
opens a drawer and pulls out a bottle of whiskey and two
glasses. He places them on his desk and pours whiskey in
This is southern moonshine and will
curl your toes.
Zach Chandler takes one of the glasses off the desk. He
swirls the amber liquid around the bottom of the glass and
in one swift motion, shoots the hard liquor down his throat
in single gulp. His eyes water and he coughs from the sting.
Zach puts the shot glass down on the desk and Sterns fills it
to the brim.
Most Yankees can't handle southern
Did you lose that arm in the war?
Fighting with the union army.
How did you end up here?
Came after the war to study law.
Too hot and humid for my taste.
Does take some getting use to.
We have to play our cards close to
What we want is an end to re
construction. If Hayes is promising
it we can do business.
You'll have it. Those insidious
Carpetbagger Dems would trade their
mothers to keep that land.
Greed is a powerful tool.
They call it progressive.
Governor Sterns pours Zach another whiskey.
They can call it whatever they want
- a trade off of farmland for a
Presidency works fine for me.
54 INT. NEW YORK CITY - EVERTTE HOUSE - NIGHT 54
Samuel Tilden, William Pelton, Abram Hewitt and John Bigelow
are busy with the returns. Campaign workers are scattered at
throughout the room.
Floyd in Florida claims he needs
ten thousand dollars more.
For what purpose?
Says to guarantee strong and honest
men in every precinct. He's
offering to put up one-thousand
dollars of his own money.
Election bribery is wrong.
Tell that to the Republicans
They'll spend hundreds of thousands
of dollars to get those electors.
All that and a free Federal army,
courtesy of President Grant to
persuade them to turn.
The ballots are already cast - if
they try to cheat the count now
they will be jailed.
In a perfect world they would.
I will not buy my way into the back
door of the White House! Hayes is
an honorable man. If he allows it,
shame will come to his good name.
George Smith enters the room with a telegram. He hands it to
Samuel. He reads it and passes it off to Abram Hewitt.
Seems there's a problem with the
three Oregon Electors.
There shouldn't be. Hayes won the
popular vote by thousands there.
Says Governor Grover disqualified
one of the Republican electors
because he was a Postmaster. Seems
he wants to replace him with a
It would be the one elector we
55 INT. OREGON - GOVERNOR GROVERS OFFICE - DAY 55
SUPERED: Each State sends their Electors Certificates to
Washington by December 6th for Congress to count and name the
winner of the Presidency.
SUPERED: Oregon Governor L.F. Grover's Office
LA FAYETTE GROVER is seated behind his colonial desk
reviewing the Electoral Certificates. GROVER's ASSISTANT is
seated a few feet away reading to himself a copy of the U.S.
LA FAYETTE GROVER
Please read me the Twelfth
Amendment. Maybe there is wording
in there I can use.
The Electors shall meet in their
respective states and vote by
Ballot for President and Vice
LA FAYETTE GROVER
Skip to the sign and certify part.
Assistant scans the document.
Ah - here it is...says they, the
Electors, shall sign and certify,
and transmit sealed to the seat of
the government of the United
States, directed to the President
of the Senate; - The President of
the Senate shall, in presence of
the Senate and House of
Representatives, open all the
certificates and the votes shall
then be counted-
LA FAYETTE GROVER
Nothing there to guide me.
SUPERED: Secretary of State Steven Chadwick was just elected
to replace Governor Grover because Grover elected by the
Oregon Legislators to be U.S. Senator.
STEVEN CHADWICK enters the room.
LA FAYETTE GROVER
Hello Mr. Secretary, or shall I
address you Governor? Please-- have
a seat --
Steven sits in a chair close to the Governor's desk.
LA FAYETTE GROVER
I presume you are aware of the
Grover's Assistant exits the room when Grover waves him off.
STEVEN CHADWICK (cont'd)
Hayes won our state by over one
La Fayette Grover settles back in his chair, removes his
reading glasses and tosses them on top of the paperwork on
his desk. Looking up at the ceiling, he begins to rub the
weariness from his eyes.
And Tilden won the country by over
a quarter million votes...If I can
help him by disqualifying Watts
The Republicans will come after
They always do.
56 INT. - NEW YORK TIMES - EDITORAL ROOM - DAY 56
John Reid reviews the tote board and a MESSENGER walks in and
hands him a few telegrams then exits. John Reid sifts through
the wires quickly but stops to red one more closely. After
reading it he crumples it in his hand. The other reporters in
the room are busy with their own work and do not notice. John
Foord walks out of his office toward Reid.
Governor Grover is going to
disqualify a Republican Elector and
replace him with a Democratic.
Governor's can't switch out
They can if they are Postmaster's,
which this one was. The fool didn't
resign his position until a week
after the election.
That is stupid. It opens the door
legally for the one elector Tilden
We must discredit him.
Report the story by facts. I'm not
willing to risk my career on a
I have no fear of Tilden's people.
You may not, but I certainly do.
Need I remind you I am the Editor
and Chief of this paper and my word
is final...Where's Cary's, I want
For what? I'm closer to Chairman
Edward Cary and CHARLES MILLER enter the room.
Maybe so, but Cary and Miller are
our political writers - take them
with you when you meet with
Miller is a Tilden supporter - I
cannot take him to see Chandler.
He'll shut down and tell me
John Reid, annoyed by his boss's request glares at all of
them as he walks back into his office and slams the door.
57 INT. OREGON - GOVERNOR GROVERS OFFICE - HALL - DAY 57
SUPERED: Republican Electors arrive to retrieve the legal
Electoral Certificates from Governor Grover.
Oregon Republican Electors J.W. WATTS, JOHN CARTWRIGHT,
WILLIAM ODELL, JOHN MILLER and JOHN PARKER wait outside the
Governor's office door. Across the hall are Democrat E.A.
CRONIN and Steven Chadwick.
Chadwick makes the first move and walks to the Governor's
door that is slightly ajar. He knocks first, then peeks his
head inside the door.
May I come in?
Chadwick enters the
walks to the desk and sits down.
Odell and Cartwright have brought
two witnesses along with Mr. Watts.
Have they now. Are they are here to
They claim they are not.
Fine - show them in.
Steve Chadwick rises from his chair and exits into the
and motions with his hand for the men to enter. All of the
men walk into the
And stand near the desk.
Governor Grover picks up three Electoral Certificates from
his desk and hands two of them off to Odell and Cartwright.
GOVERNOR GROVER (cont'd)
Mr. Odell and Mr. Cartwright these
are signed and ready for your
Odell and Cartwright take the two certificates and review
them. As they are doing so, the Governor motions to E.A.
Cronin to come closer to his desk. Grover hands Cronin the
GOVERNOR GROVER (cont'd)
This one is yours Mr. Cronin.
E.A. Cronin takes the certificate, folds it and places it in
his jacket pocket.
The Elector's certificates have
been authorized with my signature.
Sign them and express mail them to
Congress before the sixth of
December as required by law.
We want Mr. Watt's certificate.
Mr. Watt's is disqualified. The
certificate now belongs to Mr.
Cronin to vote as he pleases.
We stand firm that Mr. Watt's is
here as the official Republican
You can stand on your heads for all
I care... Mr. Watt's forfeited his
right as an Elector when he delayed
his resignation as Postmaster at
Lafayette. As a result of that
delay, Mr. Cronin here will fill
the vacancy as the official and
legal elector for the state of
Oregon. He received the highest
amount of votes required by law
which gives me the legal authority
to appoint him.
Mr. Watt's resigned his position.
A week after the Election.
Mr. Cronin is a Democrat... He will
vote the certificate for Tilden.
Mr. Cronin may vote his certificate
as he deems fit. No one is telling
him how to vote...Could be Hayes.
Governor Grover pauses slightly for effect, then raises an
GOVERNOR GROVER (cont'd)
Grover sits back in his chair and waves the men off.
GOVERNOR GROVER (cont'd)
Now gentlemen, if you please... I
have other work to attend to. This
matter is closed.
John Cartwright leans both hands aggressively on the
Governors desk and leans in.
We hereby officially object to this
decision on the grounds that you
yourself are a Democrat! We want it
noted that you are using this
office to hand Tilden the
Grover, annoyed by the threats and accusations, narrows his
eyes at Cartwright. Keeping his voice steady, Grover sternly
Are you challenging my authority
Mr. Odell? I guarantee you I
followed the law of the U.S.
Constitution and am doing my sworn
duty as the Governor of this state.
I suggest you do the same.
Furthermore - do not stand in front
of my desk all righteous and dare
to call me a cheat when it is your
party that cannot accept the voters
wishes to seat Governor Tilden as
their President. Good Day
The Electors walk out of the Governors office to the
And walk to the a
where there are a few empty desks and chairs. E.A. Cronin
walks to one of the desks and seats himself in a chair. He
places the Electors certificate neatly on the desk and signs
it. The other five Republicans, Parker, Miller, Watt's, Odell
and Cartwright stand close by and watch him.
What is it?
Cartwright and I are declaring our
positions vacant. We are appointing
Mr. Parker and Mr. Miller to
That is not a legal option Mr.
It is and we are.
Cartwright takes the two certificates and hand them to Parker
Mr. Parker, Mr. Miller... Mr. Odell
and I declare that you two are to
fill our vacancies and are now the
Oregon Electors. Sign these
certificates and give them to Mr.
Cronin so he can express them to
Miller and Parker take the certificates, walk to another
empty desk in the room, seat themselves and sign the
documents, then hand them off to Cronin. Cartwright, Odell
and Watts walk out of the room back into the
Cronin stands up from the desk and walks over to Parker and
Miller. Cronin waits for the men to acknowledge him.
What is it Mr. Cronin?
You are committing fraud.
It's as legal as the Governor
appointing you to replace Mr.
Watts. Hayes won our state by
58 EXT. OREGON - RESTAURANT - DAY 58
Cartwright, Odell and Watts enter through the door of a small
restaurant where a few PEOPLE are dining. The three men walk
to a table and quietly seat themselves. Cartwright reaches
into his jacket pocket and pulls out three new sets of
Electoral certificates. He hands one to Watts and one to
Here is your certificate Mr. Watts.
Mr. Odell and I are declaring your
vacancy filled. Complete this
certificate as a true and official
Oregon Elector for the Republican
I'll wire Chairman Chandler of our
What about Mr. Cronin?
No need to worry about him. By the
time he explains what we've done to
the Governor, it will be too late
for him to do anything about it.
Oh and be sure to send the five
thousand back to Tilden's nephew
Pelton untouched. His bribe will
justify our actions in appointing
Can we go to jail for this?
Hell no- we'll be heros for gettin'
59 INT. OREGON - GOVERNOR GROVERS - OFFICE - DAY 59
E.A. Cronin knocks at the door and enters with the three
certificates in hand. He walks to the Governor's desk and
places them down. Secretary Chadwick is present.
Is there a problem, Mr. Cronin?
Odell and Cartwright have both
declared their positions vacant.
They cannot do that.
Parker and Miller were appointed by
them as the new electors... Here
are their signatures on the
Cronin places the certificates on the Governor's desk. Grover
pounds his hand on his desk.
Grover turns to Chadwick.
GOVERNOR GROVER (cont'd)
Send a wire immediately to alert
Mr. Tilden and the others in New
Grover paces for a few moment.
GOVERNOR GROVER (cont'd)
Tell him there are counterfeit
Electoral certificates headed to
Tell him that we are not party to
this action and Congress should
issue a warrant to arrest these
cheats immediately...Also tell them
I am sending the money back because
we didn't need it.
I can only send back part of the
money...Odell took five thousand of
it for expenses.
Add that to the wire too so Tilden
doesn't think we kept his money.
60 INT. NEW YORK CITY - EVERTTE HOUSE - NIGHT 60
SUPERED: Early December 1876
POV William Pelton to
CAMPAIGN ROOM WINDOW TO STREET
PEOPLE walking along the sidewalks with their packages and
horse and carriages passing by while CHILDREN frolic in the
snow. There are a few Tilden Supporters marching around with
signs and some huddled by a trash barrel fire to keep the men
warm. After a few moments, William turns from the frosty
scenery outside to
William Pelton sighs and walks back to his desk. He takes a
seat across from George Smith at the table to assist in
Lost in thought?
The holidays are distracting...
William reads a telegram and seems confused. He places the
document aside and searches for a moment through other
telegrams on his desk until he finds the one he wants. He
reviews it and leans back in his chair and seems puzzled.
Raising his eyes up from his work, George Smith looks to
GEORGE SMITH (cont'd)
The money from Oregon has been
returned in two separate wires…
Crooking an eyebrow, George Smith stands and takes the two
telegrams from William and reads both.
WILLIAM PELTON (cont'd)
We should tell Uncle.
There is no need to anger him over
something that didn't pan
out...Don't worry William if the
money subject ever comes up, we can
easily justify the expenditure as
covered legal expenses. Congress
will most likely toss out the
certificates not signed by Grover.
61 INT. TALLAHASSEE - REPUBLICAN HEADQUARTERS - NIGHT 61
LEW WALLACE hands a telegram to Zach Chandler.
Good news from Odell in Oregon. He
set up Tilden's nephew in a money
scheme to make it look like he
tried to buy off the Oregon
Lew Wallace is not won over by Zach's enthusiasm.
ZACH CHANDLER (cont'd)
The wire states they are submitting
duplicate sets of certificates.
What would happen if we did the
We'd probably get arrested for
Zach pulls out a bottle of whiskey and two shot glasses. He
fills them to the brim.
ZACH CHANDLER (cont'd)
If all the certificates are counted
in Congress they could move to toss
out the ones without a Governors
Might be worth a try.
Maybe --I'm still surprised John
Reid's little scheme has gotten us
Who's John Reid?
He's the newsman from the New York
Times that came up with the idea.
You must be paying him good money
Ha - Not one dime. He's a smart guy
but a damned fool to think Hayes
would pay him any attention.
The men knock down another shot of whiskey.
ZACH CHANDLER (cont'd)
I have to figure out how to silence
him win or lose.
Lew Wallace pulls his gun out and lays it on the desk.
62 INT. TILDEN MANSION - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT 62
Samuel. John Bigelow and Mary are seated with cocktails near
the glow of the lit fireplace.
Do you have any concerns?
I despise dirty politics. Deceit
and trickery is dishonorable.
Samuel reaches out to pat his sister's hand.
Hopefully someday it won't be just
behind closed doors.
For a moment there is an awkward moment of silence.
63 EXT. CAPITOL BUILDING - ESTABLISHING - DAY 63
Protestors and regular city people fill the sidewalks. Horses
carriages are parked along the side of the road and a few
64 INT. WASHINGTON DC - CAPITOL BUILDING - HOUSE CHAMBER -DAY64
SUPERED: December 6, 1876 - Electoral Certificates are Opened
and Counted by Congress.
Samuel Randall, stands with other CONGRESSMEN and
HOUSE CHAMBER PUBLIC GALLEY AREA
The CROWD and REPORTERS watch and talk amongst themselves.
John Reid enters the viewers galley.
Randall, walks through the Congressmen to the
And picks up his gavel and bangs it numerous times to quiet
the voices filling the room.
ORDER! ORDER! THE HOUSE MUST COME
It takes a few moments, but the congressmen finally settle
down and sit in their designated seats.
HOUSE CHAMBER PUBLIC GALLEY AREA
Several REPORTERS surround John Reid.
HOUSE CHAMBER - Time lapse
The President of the Senate, THOMAS FERRY, enters and walks
to Randall. A hush comes over the room.
The States of Oregon, Louisiana,
Florida and South Carolina have
submitted two and three sets of
electoral certificates. We must
decide today which are legal.
All the Congressmen stand and jeer.
Obviously some states think they
can cheat their way to the
Presidency with extra votes.
HOUSE CHAMBER PUBLIC GALLEY AREA
John Reid smirks.
Congressman Hewitt stands.
I have prepared a draft for this
unusual day in our history. The
people must assemble to protest
against this fraud - They should
not be robbed of their ballots for
A REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN stands
There is no deception! Tilden does
not have the Electoral.
Democratic Congressman stand. The noise is deafening.
Hayes lost by hundreds of thousands
of ballots and your corrupt party
is attempting to steal the
Gentlemen we must have Order in the
65 INT. WHITE HOUSE - OFFICE- NIGHT 65
President Grant stands by the window.
His AIDE walks into the room.
Clearing his throat, the Aide extends his hand out with a
document. With an audible sigh Grant turns and takes it from
him and the Aide exits the room. Grant unfolds the paper,
reads the message and then crumples it in his hand. He then
turns back to the widow and resumes his POV vigil on the
marching protesters. Julia enters the room, walks over to her
husband and puts her arms around his waist from behind him.
Welcoming the touch of her thin arms around him, he reaches
down and gently takes her hands into his and lifts them to
his lips and kisses them.
My sweet Julia -
Grant slips out of her embrace and walks over to his desk and
sits in his chair.
The election has been compromised
The Oregon electors sent duplicate
certificates and now the southern
states followed their lead.
Can't you declare a winner?
I cannot, Congress must.
PRESIDENT GRANT (cont'd)
In 1804 the system was modified by
the Twelfth Amendment and it
delegates the election of President
to the House and leaves the
determination to the Vice President
who is in charge in the Senate.
Your Vice President died.
They will resolved it one way or
They must or I will be forced to
serve a third term.
No you will not...I have reschedule
our travel arrangements and
meticulously prearranged them for
our departure. I have shared you
long enough with the government.
The Liberal Republicans are narrow
headed men with their eyes so close
together that they can look out of
the same gimlet hole without
Both President Grant and Julia are startled when they hear
gunshots from outside. The President, followed by Julia, rush
over to the
to see what is going on.
Those men better not be shooting at
the fountains we built.
They shouldn't be shooting at
66 EXT. WHITE HOUSE - STREET - NIGHT 66
Protestors, who have dropped their signs but not their
torches are fighting with the soldiers who have been
stationed near the crowd to keep order. Horse and carriage
drivers try to maneuver their charges away from the
commotion, but have a difficult time because the animals are
spooked by the violent outbreak. The horses not tied to posts
start to scatter in different directions. A few of the
protestors with torches move toward some nearby trees and set
them on fire. People in the crowd panic, shriek and run away
to escape the confrontation.
67 INT. WHITE HOUSE - WINDOW - NIGHT 67
President Grant and Julia witness the violent activities.
Julia raises a hand to her mouth and cries out in horror.
Oh my Lord, they are setting fire
to the trees!
A moment later a SOLIDER of the guard enters the room, walks
to the President, salutes him.
Sir, the perimeter guards are
having a difficult time with the
Get more men out there! Those
people may protest but they will
not be allowed to destroy public
property. Arrest them if need be.
The Solider salutes Grant and walks briskly out of the room.
68 EXT. TALLAHASSEE - CAPITOL BUILDING -ESTABLISHING- NIGHT68
SUPERED: Tallahassee Florida - Capitol Building.
Protestors march with makeshift signs and some brawl and hit
each other with them. Soldiers on horseback and foot try to
stop them. One of the soldiers fires a few shots in the air
to calm the crowd down. They ignore him and keep fighting
69 INT. TALLAHASSEE - CAPITOL BUILDING - GOVERNOR OFFICE -NIGHT69
GOVERNOR STERNS watches the mob scene from a window inside
his office. One of the soldiers, a MAJOR dressed in a federal
blue uniform enters the Governor's office.
We are trying our best to control
This is impossible. I can barely
enter the building anymore without
fear of being attacked.
The Major walks to the window and stands next to the
The riots are becoming rampant
throughout the city.
The Governor walks over to a coat rack in the room and takes
his coat from it. He slings the garment over his shoulders
and prepares to leave.
Get my carriage at once - And four
of your best men. I want to tour
the city and see this for myself.
The Major walks toward Sterns.
With all due respect, sir, it's
mighty dangerous out there. Small
parts of the city are
Don't argue with me Major. It is my
duty as Governor of this state to
70 EXT. TILDEN MANSION - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT 70
SUPERED: Negotiations begin with Senator Allen G. Thurman
Tilden, along with his sister Mary, William Pelton are seated
when John Bigelow, George Smith and SENATOR ALLEN THURMAN
from Ohio enter the room. The Senator reaches into his jacket
pocket and pulls out a telegram and hands it to Samuel. They
all wait in silence as Samuel reads the message. Once read,
Samuel crumples the message in his hand.
Congress shouldn't of call off the
They had no choice after two and
three sets of certificates were
submitted. None of us can verify
which are the frauds.
This is prepostrous.
Uncle - Maybe we can persuade the
It's too late for that.
Samuel looks over to Bigelow.
A peculiar dilemma. It's never
happened before in any election.
Your supporters will not stand for
much more of this nonsense.
I'll surrender my Presidency before
I see more bloodshed.
Samuel walks over to a window, pulls back the curtain.
Tilden supporters march with signs in the cold and snowy
weather. Some of the supporters are former Civil War Veterans
wearing blue union uniforms.
Samuel turns back to his sister and the others gathered in
Each of you know it is not in my
nature to support violence. I pride
myself on high principals,
discipline and reason - strategies
of the mind. I have never used
ruff and tumble politics in place
Has Abram Hewitt sent any
advisement on how Congress will
decide which certificates are
Mr. Hewitt suggested to me we
should organize the Democrats
across the country to protest.
The way I see it, Samuel, you have
three choices. We can fight, we can
back down or we can arbitrate.
Violence is never a good solution.
We have just emerged from one Civil
War and it will not do to engage in
At the same time, however, 'backing
down' is not a solution I find very
Samuel pauses for a moment.
I like arbitration.
That is the last thing I would have
Samuel walks over to a table and picks up a book and waves it
in the air.
There should be no secret
agreements hidden from the public.
We must demand open hearings.
The others let out a moan and William looks at the floor,
mumbling unintelligibly under his breath.
They might as well just throw names
in a hat-
I may lose the Presidency but I
will not raffle for it.
You know as well as I the
Constitution says nothing about a
lawyer's arbitration with regards
to deciding Electors Certificates.
True, but the President of the
Senate has the power to decide
which certificates are valid.
He's a Republican...How's a legal
argument going to stop him?
Because it will force his hand and
throw the election count into the
House of Representatives.
Which the Democrats have control
of... Very clever.
There is a flaw though...
The Twenty-second Joint Rule was
repealed earlier this year and the
Republicans will never agree to
adopt it again.
Maybe they will if Speaker Randall
insists both houses never agreed on
With no Vice President it could
complicate things when Senator
Ferry fills in. He's bias for
His bias be damned. Wire Hewitt and
the others. Tell them to start
negotiations with the Republicans
and to report back to me with the
best deals they are offering.
71 EXT. NEW YORK CITY - 42ND ST & FIFTH AVE - DAY 71
SHOPPERS carry bags filled with merchandise. PROTESTORS for
Tilden and Hayes are gathered and continue to march in
support for their candidates. The sound of clip-clopping
horses and carriages with their DRIVERS move gracefully east
and west. A few PROSTITUTES stand in front of a gambling hall
William Pelton, Mary and Samuel stand on the sidewalk waiting
for their CARRIAGE DRIVER to finish loading their packages
into the coach. Mary watches anxiously and directs the man
during the process.
Be careful with that one.
Samuel turns and waves to his supporters before he climbs
into the coach.
Demand what is yours Mr. Tilden and
the people will sustain you.
Issue the call that our liberties
are best preserved by the sword.
Fair count or fight!
If women could vote we would screw
those Republicans like they are
trying to do you.
Samuel tips his hat and climbs into his
Once inside he is surprised by a jolt from another horse and
carriage driver that passes by in a full trot nearly hitting
A carriage hits a mud puddle and throws water and mud on to
two nicely dressed women, Celeste Stauffer and her mother
MRS. STAUFFER...The women are taken by surprise and their
packages fall to the sidewalk. Both Celeste and her mother
scramble to retrieve them. In the midst of this scuttle, the
mother slips and falls to the ground. Celeste helps her
mother off the ground. Both women have strong New Orlean
Oh William, those women are in need
of assistance. Would you be so
William retrieves his hat that he had just taken off. While
holding it in his hand he carefully maneuvers his exit from
the coach. Once he is outside, Samuel leans out his window.
Do not get too distracted nephew-
(looks at the prostitutes)
With them? Hardly.
Samuel nods his approval and motions for his carriage driver
to go forward. Samuel's driver snaps the reins in his hands
and the horses move forward into traffic. Samuel and Mary
watch from the carriage window as William and a few of the
protestors who have put down their signs, rush over to assist
the ladies. Samuel waves at them as his carriage passes. At
that moment, he realizes that the younger woman is someone he
has seen before but cannot place. As this thought races
through his mind, the young woman, Celeste, raises her head
in Samuels' direction and their eyes meet for a brief but
Really Samuel --put your eyes back
in your head.
I think I've seen her before.
Need I remind you, there are other
matters more important right now
than beautiful women.
Not the ladies of the day - the one
younger woman with her mother.
Samuel brings his hand to his chest and thumps it gently
against his heart.
William helps the ladies with their packages.
Are you in need of medical
Who was that man and woman with you
sir? Was it Samuel Tilden?
Yes. He and my mother who is also
were shopping today.
The woman winks at William and says with a slight snicker to
Look around you dear...These people
are marching in support of his
Celeste is not amused by her mother's remarks or the mud
spattered situation which has now begun to soak through her
What do I care what man is elected
President? Women are not allowed a
say in such matters.
She turns to William.
CELESTE STAUFFER (cont'd)
Thank you, sir, for your kind
assistance. We can handle it from
Celeste, your manners...I'm sorry
Sir - I did not hear your name.
William touches the brim of his hat and slightly nods.
Colonel William T. Pelton, Ma'am.
The women swipe more of the mud from the front of their
Oh, you are a military man?
My name is Mrs. Stauffer, of New
Orleans. And this is my daughter
Celeste Stauffer, who, as you now
know, speaks her mind without
pause...We are here for travel by
ship to Europe in the morning.
Mother we must go.
One moment dear. My husband is in
Oh you know of my grandfather Elam.
Of course - My husband spoke often
of your grandfather's successes
The three commence walking toward the entrance of the
FIFTH AVENUE HOTEL
My mother is a strong advocate for
women's voting rights.
She sounds like a very wise woman.
(laughs out loud)
She keeps us all in line.
If more women were ambitious like
your mother the laws that guide us
well this country would be better
Before entering the hotel, Mrs. Stauffer stops and reaches
her hand out to William.
Thank you again for your assistance
Colonel Pelton. I shall tell my
husband when we see him abroad that
we had the pleasure of meeting you.
Please tell Governor Tilden we hope
to hear good news about his
72 INT. - FIFTH AVENUE HOTEL - REPUBLICAN HEADQUARTERS - NIGHT72
SUPERED: Republican Headquarters New York City. Samuel
Tilden's "Presidential Counts" booklet was delivered to
every Congressmen's desk at the Capitol.
John Reid reads Tilden's recently published case and Zach
Chandler is seated behind his desk, busy working on another
project. Reid walks to Zach, with the pamphlet in hand.
Have you read this yet?
Zach briefly looks at the cover.
Reid waves the booklet in the air to get Zach's attention and
John Bigelow wrote the introduction
and it's quite effective. It could
possibly sway some of the
Republican Senators to vote for
Zach, annoyed by Reid's interruption, stands up from his desk
and walks to a campaign staffer and hands off a slip of paper
(to John Reid)
You started this election fiasco -
(to campaign staffer)
Please send this immediately.
The staffer takes the paper from Zach and exits the room.
Zach walks back to his desk and sits down. He continues with
his work and tries unsuccessfully to ignore John Reid.
Read it aloud to me while I finish
Reid opens the booklet.
It begins with, it is shown that in
Seventeen-Ninety Three - two
Houses, by concurrent Resolution,
prescribed the mode of the
counting, which was followed down
73 INT. WHITE HOUSE: 73
SUPERED: President Grant, First Lady, Julia Grant and General
Tecumseh Sherman, Commanding General of the Army.
Seated behind his desk in his office, President Grant leans
back in his chair, relaxed and smoking a cigar and listens
attentively to Julia read Tilden's pamphlet to him. WILLIAM
TECUMSEH SHERMAN is seated in a nearby chair, chews on a
cigar with his legs crossed and arms folded.
Subsequently, a standing rule of
Congress for counting prevailed in
Nine and Eighteen-Seventy-Two. The
two Houses invariably appointed
tellers to make the count - two for
the Lower House and one for the
74 INT. HAYES MANSION - LIVING ROOM 74
SUPERED: Rutherford Hayes, Lucy Hayes and Ohio Senator John
Sherman, younger brother of General Tecumseh Sherman.
Inside the living room at the Hayes home in Ohio, Senator
JOHN SHERMAN is seated by a desk and reads Tilden's
Presidential Counts pamphlet.
SENATOR JOHN SHERMAN
In this survey, with citations to
sources, Tilden contends: that the
two Houses have exclusive
jurisdiction to count the electoral
votes under their own rules and had
exercised that power.
EXT. WHITE HOUSE - STREET
Tilden and Hayes supporters in the streets carry their signs.
JULIA GRANT (V.O.)
From the beginning of the Federal
Government, the President of the
Senate merely opened the votes and
presented them to the two Houses
for action, but it's never gone
beyond that limit-Function in a
INT. CAPITOL SENATE CHAMBERS
SUPERED: Senator Thomas W. Ferry, President pro tempore of
the U.S. Senate and other Republican Senators.
SENATOR THOMAS W. FERRY
To allow him to count the votes
would permit him to disfranchise a
State, and even to elect himself
President. Three, that the two
75 INT. CAPITOL - HOUSE CHAMBERS 75
SUPERED: Samuel Jackson Randall, 33rd Speaker of the United
States House of Representatives and Congressman Abram Hewitt,
Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Inside House Chambers Speaker of the House SAMUEL JACKSON
RANDALL stands by the door and reads out loud to Abram Hewitt
who is seated in a chair nearby.
SAMUEL JACKSON RANDALL
Authority to decide upon the
legality of votes and might go
behind the returns to do so.
76 INT. FIFTH AVENUE HOTEL - REPUBLICAN HEADQUARTERS - NIGHT76
Zach stands and stretches and reaches over and takes the
Presidential Counts booklet from John Reid.
Tilden makes a notable case...
Are you worried Mr. Reid? Go ahead
and print it. Most people won't
understand the content. In fact,
most are amazingly ignorant when it
comes to politics.
Tilden supporters are huddled near a fire and reading
INSERT: New York Sun newspaper headline, "Presidential
77 EXT. GRAMERCY PARK - DAY 77
Tilden's supporters are gathered in front of the mansion,
with signs and call out for Samuel to claim his Presidency.
The local POSTMAN has difficulty maneuvering his horse and
mail carriage through the crowd. He pulls up to the curb,
halts and jumps down from the carriage and struggles with the
VARIOUS TILDEN SUPPORTERS
Demand what is yours and the people
will sustain you. Fair Count or
Fight! Tilden or Blood! Our
liberties are best preserved by the
78 INT. TILDEN MANSION - LIVING ROOM - DAY 78
Mary sighs at the window while observing the crowd. She
notices George struggling with the heavy mail bag. She walks
over to the
And opens it for him. The Postman makes his way up the
I am so sorry. Carrying all this
mail every day must be burdensome.
The Postman enters the mansion and drops the heavy bag onto
It seems your brother is getting
letters from the entire country on
Does he read all of these?
As many as he can fit into his
With a grunt, the Postman picks up the heavy bag again and
slings it over his shoulder and follows Mary into the
And drops the bag to the floor again.
Leave it and I will have a couple
of the staff pick it up.
Samuel descends down the staircase and greets the Postman.
I see you have the daily cart load.
The Postman walks to the door to leave.
There's a lot of people out there
that love you sir.
And I them.
Samuel walks toward his
George Smith is working at his desk. Samuel walks to his own
desk and sits down. Mary enters the room.
MARY (TO GEORGE)
He's in good spirits.
He has been ever since he finished
the Presidential Counts pamphlet.
Any other news?
Supporters are gearing up for a
I will not endorse bloodshed.
If you are not declared President
elect soon there may be no
79 EXT. WASHINGTON DC - CAPITOL BUILDING - DAY 79
Several members of Congress walk the grounds.
Soldiers keep the boisterous Protesters at bay.
80 INT. WASHINGTON DC - CAPITOL BUILDING - ROOM - DAY 80
SUPERED: December 22, 1876, Members of the Committee on
Privileges, Powers and Duties of the House of Representatives
are assembled. Representative J. Proctor Knott of Kentucky,
is Chairman of the committee, is seated at the center of the
table surrounded by the other eleven Congressmen who make up
the committee to review the Electoral Certificate documents.
Their focus is to make any major decisions and to write any
new laws pertaining to the current election rules.
Rising from his chair, CONGRESSMAN KNOTT picks up some of the
papers laid out before him and begins to read out loud the
final decision of the rules. Congressman Abram Hewitt is one
of the twelve on this committee and he sits and listens
attentively while Knott reads the resolution out loud.
The resolution is complete as
follows; One, that the Constitution
does not confer upon the President
of the Senate the power to count
the electoral votes for President.
. . Two, that he may only receive,
preserve and open them. Three, that
the Senate and House only may
examine and ascertain the votes to
be counted. Four, that in the
exercise of this power the House is
at least the equal of the Senate.
Five, that no vote can be counted
against the judgment of the House.
Knott places the document back on the table and looks at the
CONGRESSMAN KNOTT (cont'd)
If there are no further questions
or remarks then this meeting is
SUPERED: In the first months of 1876, never suspecting any
issues with the upcoming election between Hayes and Tilden,
the Republican controlled Senate had repealed Joint Rule 22.
This rule provided for both houses of Congress during an
electoral count that both houses would have to see eye to
eye, meaning they would agree on counting a certificate as
legal or it would be thrown out.
Just outside of the committee room, Samuel Randall waits for
Abram Hewitt to leave the room at the conclusion of the
resolution vote. Hewitt exits the room. The two turn and walk
down the hall.
With the Twenty Second Joint rule
repealed the Republican Senate must
abide by the law.
And the House?
Can object questionable
certificates and thrown them out.
Senator Thurman offered Tilden
three courses to follow. He can
fight, back down or arbitrate...
Tilden has chosen the latter.
I'm not surprised...If it was my
presidency, I'd fight.
Tilden's all about keeping it
Good thing it's not my choice, aye,
The two continue their walk toward the exit.
SAMUEL RANDALL (cont'd)
I'm on my way to meet with
President Grant now.
Tread lightly my friend, Grant may
not be very receptive to the words
of a Democratic.
Probably not- but what Republican
81 EXT. WHITE HOUSE - STREET - DAY 81
Randall walks briskly toward the street which is packed with
TILDEN and HAYES supporters and SOLDIERS. He hails a horse
and CARRIAGE DRIVER. When the carriage stops Randall climbs
into the coach. Some REPORTERS run toward him.
Mr. Speaker, how did your meeting
go with the President?
Randall leans out of the carriage window.
I have no comment at this time.
Randall motions with a wave of his hand for the driver to go.
The driver moves his horse slowly forward. A few reporters
follow the slow moving carriage to ask more questions.
The president told me he would not
seat any man in the White House -
but would be bound by the action of
Congress whether the choice is
Tilden or Hayes.
Randall leans out the window of the carriage window.
(to Carriage Driver)
Halt for a moment.
The driver pulls back on the reins and stops.
Did you ask the President who he
He was out here earlier and told us
That is the cheekiest thing I've
ever heard a President to do.
We heard Congress is going to count
Hayes in rightly or wrongly. Any
Congress will be fair to both
candidates...I'm sorry Gentlemen;
I'm late for my train.
Randall motions to his driver to move on. The Reporters
scribble more notes.
I can't believe you told him Grant
was out here and said that.
It's the news business kid.
Sometimes you have to fabricate to
82 INT. TILDEN MANSION -READING ROOM - NIGHT 82
A fire burns brightly in the hearth. Samuel is snuggled in a
chair and a little distracted as he reads a book. He lets out
a sigh as he stares at the dancing flames flickering in the
fireplace. After a few moments he hears voices just outside
the room. As if on cue, one of Samuel's household butlers
opens the door.
Send him in.
Hewitt enters the room, walks over to Samuel and two shake
The Butler walks to the bar area and carefully dispenses two
drinks from a lead crystal decanter to whiskey glasses, walks
to the men and hands them off then walks to toward the door
and stands near it.
President Grant's exact words to
Randall. He says no man can take
the office of President unless the
people believe he has been fairly
Grant knows I'm elected.
Grant claims South Carolina has
gone for Hayes and Florida by a
majority of forty-five.
Yet our visiting statesmen say my
majority in Florida is ninety
He believes Louisiana gave you the
majority by six to eight thousand
So if it were Grant's decision the
dispute is over and I'm elected.
He added due to the irregularities
of the vote from the last named
state, it should be thrown out,
leaving the House to elect the
He said his obligation as President
is to call up the arm forces to
save public property.
He conveniently left out how his
administration called up the army
without his approval.
Randall and I are convinced that
Grant believes you have been
properly and legally elected.
I am elected! The Republicans just
won't give in to it. Florida is
under military siege and Drew had
to sue to get a recount for his win
as governor. Republicans are so far
out on a limb they will stop at
I heard reports Governor Sterns is
declaring the win.
He can declare all day and
night...Drew won his appeal for a
recount in the Florida Supreme
Court. The margins are thin there -
but the recount verifies the state
was mine too.
Samuel walks to the window
and his mood suddenly lightens when he sees FOUR WOMEN walk
up the steps.
BACK ON SCENE
Samuel waves at the women.
Please tell my sister her friends
Hewitt pulls a sealed envelope from his jacket pocket and
walks over to Samuel and hands it to him.
INSERT ENVELOPE marked with tag "Committee Resolutions"
BACK ON SCENE
Review these by tomorrow. I'd like
to talk with you again before I
return to Washington.
The Butler proceeds to the
And welcomes the four Socialite women. Mary enters the
Walks over to Abram Hewitt and shakes his hand.
Mr. Hewitt, good to see you again.
When you have a moment.
We will talk tomorrow.
Mary, Samuel and Hewitt move toward the door and exit into
Where the four women hand off their overcoats to the Butler.
Mary leans into her brother.
It's your affections they seek.
Mary and the four women exit into the
And seat themselves.
Samuel turns to Hewitt and shrugs his shoulders with an
amused grin on his face. The Butler bring Hewitt his coat and
When do you meet with Randall
Tomorrow night in Washington.
Hewitt to the front door.
We will do whatever it takes.
Our Supporters are counting on it.
Abram Hewitt exits out the door and Samuel walks to the
To join the women who are already in conversation. The women
pause for a moment and acknowledge Samuel's entrance. Mary
catches her brother's glance and winks at him.
83 INT. CAPITOL BUILDING - CORRIDOR - DAY 83
SUPERED: Two days later.
Congressmen Randall and Hewitt converse with each other as
they walk down the corridor. Several other Congressmen nod
their usual good-mornings and pleasantries as they pass by.
Hewitt and Randall offer a slight wave of their hands to
I've been informed Republicans are
intercepting our wires and
They must have someone on the
Probably William Orton President of
the telegraph company. Add him to
the subpena list to testify.
It's rumored Chandler has evidence
Tilden's nephew William paid a
bribe for an Elector in Oregon. Any
truth to it?
If doubt he did, but nephew or not
he would be disowned. Family honor
and integrity is everything to
Tilden... What news from the
They're planning to propose a
special electoral commission.
A few men deciding instead of
entire Congress?...We must block
See if you can arrange a meeting
with Thurman and Bayard. Their
input will be valuable and I know
they'll never agree to back another
resolution. Together we need to
calculate the consequences of ruin
it could bring to our party as
Tilden would surrender his
Presidency before he allowed that
His Supporters would start a second
Civil War -
84 EXT. HAYES HOME - STREET - NIGHT 84
A large CROWD of HAYES and TILDEN SUPPORTERS parade around
outside the Hayes's estate with campaign signs. A group of
Christmas CAROLERS sing 19th Century holiday songs. Lucy and
Rutherford Hayes stroll through the crowd and greet their
supporters and some of the Tilden people as well. Rutherford
watches his wife with a protective eye and after a few
moments Lucy waves good-bye, walks to Rutherford and takes
his arm and they walk back toward the house.
85 INT. HAYES MANSION - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT 85
Senator John Sherman waits with his WIFE and some other
GUESTS. Rutherford and Lucy enter the room.
That was an exhilarating
The two men shake hands and Lucy walks away toward their
Word from Washington is a special
I cannot influence the action of
I wonder what Henry Wilson would
have said about this.
Henry had his own scandals to deal
with. His passing while Vice
President left both the Senate and
Grant in a lurch.
You do realize the tide is turning
I will serve for the sake of the
party if it happens - but the
people behind this fraud will get
no special favors from me.
86 EXT. WHITE HOUSE - STREET - NIGHT 86
SUPERED: Christmas Eve
Several CAROLERS sing 19th Century Christmas songs. Not far
from them are protestors waving Tilden or Blood signs.
Soldiers stand guard at the front entrance of the White
87 INT. WHITE HOUSE - OFFICE - NIGHT 87
President Grant is behind Julia and has his arms around her.
Can you hear it?
Yes them too - but I meant no
It's Christmas Eve.
Will you miss being First Lady?
Not at all...By next summer we will
be abroad enjoying civilian life.
And a perfect time for you to start
Grant lets out a moan and walks over to his desk. He reaches
out and picks up his partially smoked cigar from an ashtray.
Julia follows him and takes the cigar from his hand and
places it back in the ashtray.
You have been President for eight
years and a war hero...People will
want to read about your life.
I've heard of a very talented
writer who would be willing to work
with you...I particularly like this
man because of his stance on
Raising an eyebrow, Grant picks up his cigar again and lights
Women's rights? You mean that
Declaration signed on July 4th?
Do not snicker Grant- Someday women
will be voting.
Hopefully not in my lifetime.
Women are much smarter than many
You are... So tell me - who is this
writer you speak of?
Grant turns and looks back out the window at the people
outside. A wisp of cigar smoke curls around above his head.
Never heard of him.
88 EXT. GRAMERCY PARK - TILDEN MANSION - NIGHT 88
Hundreds of Tilden supporters surround Tilden's home, streets
and the park. Several horse and carriages arrive, dispatch
ladies and gentlemen dressed in their best attire in front of
CAMERA ZOOMS IN THRU A WINDOW
to a STRING QUARTET then
PANS BACK to expose the
LIVING ROOM with
Filled with PEOPLE in formal attire.
89 INT. GRAMERCY PARK - TILDEN MANSION - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT89
Mary, dressed in a gown greets guests as they enter the room.
Honest John Kelly, Samuel, William Pelton, Abram Hewitt, John
Bigelow, George Smith and MANTON MARBLE, are gathered
together in the
A Socialite enters the room and walks to Mary.
Any decisions for your Cabinet?
Charles Adams for Secretary of
The son of a President and grandson
of another, good traditional
The other men agree and nod their approval.
Charles O'Connor for Attorney
General and David Wells for
Secretary of the Treasury.
I need the brightest people working
with me. Men I can trust which of
course includes you John.
What have you heard from Hendricks?
Not much. I think he and the
Tammany boys wish he'd won the
nomination instead of me. Their
support of him for President was
The Republicans would have shown
Hendricks no mercy either.
(to Abram Hewitt)
The reconstruction issue in the
South must be resolved. Our party
leaders in the confederate states
want the army out and I agree.
And the Negroes?
They've received several promises
from Hayes people to remove the
Assuredly promises to sway them to
The Negroes civil rights must be
protected. I had already planned to
move the soldiers out.
It's long overdue.
We need to schedule a meeting to
discuss this idea of a Special
Electoral Commission. The thought
of a few men deciding my Presidency
will not sit well with the voters.
Mary enters the room walks to Samuel, takes his hand in hers
and gently leads him out of the room.
Come Gentlemen - there are many
here waiting patiently to meet all
Abram Hewitt reaches out and takes hold of William Pelton's
shoulder. He leans into William's ear and in a hushed voice.
I've heard a nasty rumor about you.
Is there any truth to you bribing
an Elector in Oregon?
We'll talk tomorrow.
Hewitt walks away and William turns toward George Smith, who
was in earshot of the exchange shrugs it off.
90 INT. NEW YORK TIMES - EDITORAL ROOM - NIGHT 90
A few reporters are focused on their work at desks. John Reid
and Zach Chandler stand off to the side near John's office.
What have you heard about the
Electoral Commission proposal?
Democrats are supporting it and we
Can it be blocked?
House and Senate have to agree on
terms before that happens.
How would it work?
Several members of Congress and the
Senate, maybe some judges from the
How many Republicans?
Half, plus one. Senator Conkling
would be our thorn. He's still
angry Hayes's took the nomination
Can't he be reasoned with?
So many questions -
Chandler reaches for his coat and hat on a nearby chair. He
places his hat on his head then puts on his coat.
Leave the politics of this to those
of us who know what we're doing.
Once Hayes is sworn in you will
receive a generous reward.
A staff position in the White House
would be good.
Don't take this personal - but a
job in a Hayes' White House would
be next to impossible for any man
involved in this plot. Grant and
the others are aware of your plot
brilliant as it was they would
never allow someone smarter than
themselves in...Have a Merry
Christmas John...and for God Sake -
go home to your wife and enjoy the
Zach touches the brim of his hat, turns and walks out the
door. John Reid visibly angry by Zach's comments, walks into
his office and slams the door and kicks a chair over.
91 INT. TILDEN MANSION - READING ROOM - DAY 91
SUPERED: Two days after Christmas 1876.
Samuel, Abram Hewitt, William Pelton, Manton Marble, George
Smith and John Bigelow are all seated. Samuel stands with a
piece of paper in his hand.
New Year's day, I must make an
appearance at the Inauguration for
Robinson when he takes my place as
Governor. I should not be absent
but a day.
(to Abram Hewitt)
Tell us more about the Special
Will there be a House Resolution
We will try for one.
This is all insanity...Only a
handful of men will decide which
Electors Certificates are valid and
which are not is a slap in the face
to the election process. This
business with the Oregon
Republicans and their duplicate
certificates is outright fraud and
no one in Congress is going to
arrest the criminals involved?
Samuel places the document he had in his hand on a nearby
After I'm in the White House we can
instigate an investigation into the
people responsible and expose them
to the voters. The million dollar
question on my mind is will a
resolution in the House assert
exclusive rights? And will the
Republican controlled Senate act
concurrently to count the Electors
They'll wait until the duplicate
certificates are presented before
Are you suggesting neither the
House nor the Senate will have any
say about which are valid?
I am saying they will make an
attempt to, yes.
Will they debate these certificates
in public or behind close doors?
Behind closed doors with no public
The Senate has no say either.
Ha - the Republicans will have
plenty to say - they always do.
Not this time...Their voices will
be blocked and rejected by rule of
the House which we Democrats
How does it serve us?... What are
Senators Thurman and Bayard
Before leaving Washington, I met
with Thurman, Bayard and Speaker
Randall. We all agreed there will
be two plans of action. One,
to follow the Committee of
Privileges for a decision with that
And two, to create a new agency
outside of Congress to encourage a
Committee on an Electoral Count
Bill. The latter will decide on the
duplicate certificates issue. Keep
in mind, gentlemen, the Republicans
in the Senate are not happy about
any of it. They think their chances
are better with Florida, South
Carolina and Louisiana returning
boards, which they currently
control with the assistance of
Risky on both sides.
Grant should be doing something to
stop these cheats.
Grant has no control over his
party..He's lucky they didn't give
him the boot.
My fear is he'd order me shot by
one of his soldiers before he
turned his back on his cronies.
If he did there would be riots
across the nation.
That won't do...My Presidency must
be resolved legally or we'll be
accused of being war mongers like
they are. I ran to reform not kill
92 INT. WHITE HOUSE - PRESIDENTS OFFICE - DAY 92
President Grant is seated at his desk reviewing paperwork
when his aide knocks on the door.
What is it?
The aide peeks his head into the room.
Pardon me, Mr. President, but
Representative Conger of Michigan,
is here to speak with you.
Show him in.
Congressman Conger strolls through the door and heads toward
Grant's desk. The President stands and walks around the
large desk to greet him and the two shake hands.
Good Morning - Let me guess, the
To get straight to the point, I'm
not one for idol rumors but it has
been told to me that Tilden was
intending to take the oath of
office, even at the risk of being
shot. Would you order it if he did
such a thing?
Now how would that look if I shot a
man that won an election by over
two-hundred fifty thousand votes.
To answer your question - No Mr.
Conger, I will not shoot Mr. Tilden
- but I would have to arrest him if
he illegally took the oath of
What have you heard from Mr. Hayes?
He has written me.
Grant reaches for a cigar from his desk, stands and walks
over and sits in a chair. A moment of silence passes between
the two as he lights his stogie and takes a few puffs.
I am not a mind-reader - are you
going to make me wait all day?
Governor Hayes has concerns about
the proposed electoral commission.
Does he now?
Grant takes another puff, blowing the blue smoke above his
He questions the authority of the
Constitution on the matter.
Next time you talk to Governor
Hayes tell him he lost this
election by a clear majority and he
should be concerned, rightly so.
Grant takes a few more puffs from his cigar and then leans
forward and places the stogie in an ashtray on a table.
PRESIDENT GRANT (cont'd)
It is my opinion that Congress
should consider eliminating any
state that submits duplicate
certificates and disqualify their
electors from the count.
Conger dumbfounded by Grant's statement. Grant picks up the
still smoldering cigar and clamps it between his teeth.
Have a good evening.
The Congressman nervously turns and makes a hasty exit. Grant
stands alone for a moment and stares off. He stands and walks
back behind his desk and sits down in his chair.
93 EXT. GRAMERCY PARK - STREET - NIGHT 93
A MESSENGER with a large envelope walks through the crowd of
Tilden supporters. He is stopped when he reaches a couple of
guards at the front steps. One of the guards takes the
envelope, reviews it, and climbs the steps to the
and knocks on the door.
INSERT ENVELOPE: "Strictly Confidential" Congressman Abram
BACK ON SCENE
The guard waits for the door to be opened.
94 INT. TILDEN MANSION - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT 94
George Smith hears the knock and continues to work at a small
desk. He takes little notice as one of the butlers walks past
him to the door. Smith looks UP when he hears the guard's
Confidential, for Governor Tilden.
George Smith waits for the Butler to enter the room and takes
the envelope from him and walks into the
With the envelope and quietly lays it on Samuel's desk.
Is that what I think it is?
Samuel carefully tears open the envelope and pulls out
several papers that are neatly packaged inside. George Smith
starts to exit the room when the Butler appears again, this
time with a telegram in his hands. George reads it and hands
it off to Samuel.
Samuel lays the papers down on the table.
A wire from Attorney Whitney.
Read it to me.
You should consider forcing a
modification of the resolution in
order to preserve the
Constitutional right of the two
Houses to participate equally in
the count - That is all we want and
the country is with us....Whitney.
Wire him back at once and tell him
I will consider his proposal.
George Smith walks out of the room. Samuel picks up the
proposed bill again and begins to study it. Samuel hears
another knock at the door and the butler announces John
JOHN BIGELOW (V.O.)
Is he busy?
Never too busy for you. Come in.
Bigelow hands his coat and hat to the Butler then walks into
Samuel smiles when he sees Bigelow and waves the papers in
his hand at him. Bigelow walks toward him.
It just arrived and I haven't had a
chance to read it myself.
Is it the McCrary House Bill? How
did you get it so soon?
All confidential of course.
You do not trust me?
You dare ask me that --sit down.
Bigelow smiles and gives an audible grunt. Samuel hands him
I've heard secrecy has been imposed
on all committee members.
None of it should be...It should be
public and published...
The cloak and dagger people love
Which is why their constituents
don't trust them.
According to these documents the
Revisions provide for a special
commission of fifteen members -
five from the House, five from the
Senate and five from the Supreme
Court. The judges will be
determined by putting the names of
the Senior Justices into a hat and
drawing out one. There's to be
seven Republicans and seven
Democrats. The draw for the
fifteenth member would break the
Ha - from names in a hat.
Samuel stands and walks over to the
He pulls back the curtain and looks out at the crowd in the
Hewitt will be here tomorrow to
discuss the particulars. He and the
others seems to think this is the
best solution. I do not agree with
any of them.
Samuel turns back to face Bigelow, and points toward the
Those are good people standing out
there in the cold. Many of them
Civil War soldiers who gave their
blood to preserve this government.
Fifteen men deciding a Presidency
for an entire nation is
wrong...Hayes knows this and yet he
has done nothing to stop his party
from tarnishing his good name.
95 INT. NEW YORK TIMES - PRESS ROOM - NIGHT 95
John Reid is seated behind his desk and he is busy working. A
messenger arrives with a large envelope and knocks on his
door. He waves the messenger in and takes the envelope from
INSERT: Large envelope marked "Confidential" Zach Chandler.
BACK ON SCENE
Close the door on your way out.
John Reid opens the envelope and pulls out the enclosed
INSERT: McCrary House Bill.
BACK ON SCENE
John walks over to his door and locks it.
96 INT. TILDEN MANSION - READING ROOM - DAY 96
Congressman Hewitt is seated in a chair and watches for
Samuel's reactions as he marks up the proposed revisions in
the McCrary House Bill.
John Bigelow is present and turns in his chair when he hears
a knock at the door. Mary leans her head in.
Mr. Marble is here.
Oh -Please send him in. You should
be in here too Mary to hear what I
have to say.
Manton Marble enters the room quietly and sits down next to
Bigelow. Mary enters and closes the doors behind her and sits
in a chair. Samuel continues to review and mark the proposal
silently and does not notice when Marble leans over and
whispers in Bigelow's ear,
Who else has this report?
No one should have it except the
Samuel finishes reading and with a deep sigh, places the
documents on a nearby table.
Let's discuss details. Who agrees
Bayard and Thurman are absolutely
committed to it. They concur with
the Republican members.
How many oppose it in Congress?
Several...The House Committee has
suggested killing it.
Is it not rather late then to
consult with me?
They will not consult with you.
They are public men Samuel and they
have their own duties and
responsibilities. I consult with
I know I cannot advise you or the
other Democratic members to agree
to the bill one way or another, but
I will advise you to my thoughts
and details I feel are inadequate.
Samuel stands and waves the papers in the air.
This turns the election into a
raffle for the Presidency...I do
not approve of it and neither will
None of us expected you to.
Samuel takes a moment to compose himself.
The way I see it, arbitration
should be adopted into the bill.
Then it would be the duty of the
arbitrators to investigate and
decide the case on its merits. This
should be mandatory and would
eliminate the element of gambling
for the Presidency.
Samuel wrings his hands.
Do you need a break?
No - I'm fine. Consider this. If
you go into a conference with your
adversary and can't break it off
because you feel you must agree to
something, you cannot negotiate.
You will be beaten on every detail.
Pauses for a moment.
Why surrender now? You can always
surrender, at any time. Why
surrender before the battle for
fear you may have to surrender
after the battle is over?
Bigelow, Mary, Marble and Hewitt nod in agreement.
President Grant's term ends on
March fourth by Constitutional law.
This argument leaves it open for
him to try to insert himself for a
No one would agree to have him for
a third term...no one. What is your
objection? Is it the five Supreme
Court justices on the commission?
I have to agree. They are justices
and shouldn't be deciding
I agree with John...There is no
need for hot haste. We still have
time to consult and to debate this
publicly. The secrecy surrounding
this bill...I don't trust it. Tell
the others I thing they should
allow the House to debate.
What shall we do if the bill is
Alert the public and stop the
secrecy so the voters know what is
happening. They have a right to
97 EXT. WASHINGTON DC - WHITE HOUSE - STREET - DAY 97
SUPERED: January 25, 1877, the Senate votes in favor of the
Electoral Commission Bill 47-17; the House followed suit the
next day, 191-86. On January 29, President Ulysses S. Grant
signs the bill into law.
An angry group of Tilden and Hayes protestors stand in the
street and wave copies of the New York Times newspaper.
INSERT: Newspaper headline, "Dice Box VS Ballot Box"
BACK ON SCENE
They might as well draw straws! The
presidency is being raffled like a
The Tilden Supporters are being held back from entering the
Capitol grounds by FEDERAL TROOPS.
How did this happen?
They are stealing Tilden's
I want my ballot counted.
Hold another election.
Tilden or Blood!
EXT. WASHINGTON - CAPITOL BUILDING - DAY
An angry CROWD swells and surround the Capitol building.
Horse and carriages fill every available parking space.
Several DIGNITARIES from other countries, as well as
Senators, Congressmen and Newsmen are being protected and
escorted into the Capitol building by federal soldiers.
98 INT. CAPITOL BUILDING - HOUSE FLOOR - DAY 98
SUPERED: Foreign dignitaries, Newsmen and some of the general
public are assembled to listen, watch, report and participate
in America's most disputed election ever.
Where are Tilden and Hayes?
Candidates stay at home until they
What? They have no say in the
process? Your political system is
Indeed it is.
The room is buzzing with noisy men. Speaker Randall bangs his
gavel for quiet. Randall reads the bill.
Time Lapse - skips to section 6 of the bill.
SEC. 6. That nothing in this act
shall be held to impair or affect
any right now existing under the
Constitution and laws to question
by proceeding in the judicial
courts of the United States, the
right or title of the person who
shall be declared elected or who
shall claim to be President or Vice
President of the United States, if
any such right exists.
SEC. 7. That said commission shall
make its own rules, keep a record
of its proceedings, and shall have
power to employ such persons as may
be necessary for the transaction of
its business and the execution of
President Ulysses S. Grant signed
this into law and approved, January
It will be the Commission's
responsibility to decide which of
these rejected Electors
certificates will be deemed valid.
INT. CAPITOL BUILDING - HOUSE FLOOR - DAY
INSERT: CLOCK ON WALL set at one p.m. - IT STRIKES ONE CHIME
BACK ON SCENE
Representatives FIELDS, KASSMAN and Senator SARGENT watch
SENATOR FERRY as he walks to the House of Representatives
desk. House Speaker Randall is seated beside him.
The Joint Session is now called to
order. The Certificates will be
opened in alphabetical order
starting with the state of Alabama.
Senator Ferry opens a wooden box and takes out the first
sealed certificate from Alabama and hands it to one of the
four tellers in the room. The teller opens the certificate
and reads it out loud.
Alabama casts its ten electoral
votes for Samuel J. Tilden.
TIME LAPSE: Votes being counted.
SUPERED: The process continues smoothly until the Teller
brings up state of Florida which submitted three
different sets of electoral certificates.
Florida casts it four votes for
Teller opens another certificate.
Florida again casts it four votes
Teller opens another certificate.
Um - Florida again, Four votes for
Are there any objections to the
certificates from Florida?
I object to the first and third set
of certificates from Florida.
I object to the second set from
I object to the first and third
Senator Ferry scans the room with his eyes.
Are there any further objections?
Senator Ferry waits for a response and there is none.
There being none, the certificates
will be sent to the Electoral
Commission for review.
An audible chatter fills the room.
John Reid and Zach Chandler smirk.
SUPERED: More objections are voiced for the states of
Louisiana, South Carolina, and Oregon and the certificates
are turned over to the Electoral Commission which will
decide which are valid and to be counted.
Earlier in that year of 1876,
before the election, the Senate had
voted to eliminate the Twenty
Second Joint rule. If that rule had
still been in place, then the
states that submitted the duplicate
and triplicate returns would have
been tossed out and the states'
votes would not have counted.
In that case, Tilden would have won
the Presidency without dispute.
Tilden had received 184 Electoral
votes and Hayes 165. In order to
steal the Presidency away from
Tilden, who had already beaten
Hayes by two hundred fifty four
thousand, two hundred thirty five
(254,235) popular votes, the
Republicans needed all of the
twenty disputed votes to give Hayes
a majority of one. The two Vice
Presidential candidates, Republican
Wheeler from New York and Democrat
Hendricks from Indiana, were just
as anxious for the outcome. They
both wanted to know if they were
Vice President or not.
CAPITOL CONFERENCE ROOM
SUPERED: February 2, 1877 - Electoral Commission meets on the
following day, inside a conference room at the Capitol
Building. The Special Commission is made up of: five
Senators, five Congressmen and five Supreme Court Justices.
The fifteen men are seated around a long table in a small
cramped room with hardly any space for spectators. In the
corner of the room, there is a large cuspidor (Spittoon)
which stands out like a sore thumb.
After quietly exiting the Special Commission room, Randall
and Hewitt are just a few feet away from the door.
Justice Bradley has a reputation of
fairness and honesty amongst his
peers, but he is a Republican and
loyal to his party. This
arrangement will end with one
person deciding the Presidency.
Hewitt looks around to see if anybody is listening.
Yes and it will most likely be
Bradley. I was told by Taylor and
Gibson that they spoke with him at
He assured them he was going to
give the Florida Electors to
And you trust them? These people
tried to steal Drew's Governor's
election as well. If he hadn't sued
for a re-count he would be holding
his hat in his hand as well.
I heard Bradley can't be bought.
And I heard two-hundred thousand is
the going price these days for a
change of heart...It's a huge
SUPERED: Justice Bradley looks back to the documents placed
before him. He tries to concentrate on the papers, but,
feeling the heavy burden placed on his shoulders, his mind
wanders. Still looking at the papers, but not really seeing
them, he thinks back to what happened a few nights before.
EXT. JUSTICE BRADLEY'S HOUSE - NIGHT
SUPERED: Justice Bradley's home.
DIRECTORS NOTE: CREATE A SILENT SCENE FROM DIALOG OF ACTION.
Democrats Taylor and Gibson arrived
at Bradley's house in the early
evening hours. He has a brief talk
with the two men, and all three men
seemed in agreement. They shake
hands and the two Democrats depart.
After Taylor and Gibson go, they
are convinced Justice Bradley will
write his opinion in favor of
counting the Florida votes for the
A moment later, two unknown men waiting in a carriage out of
sight of Taylor and Gibson, drive their carriage toward
Bradley's home. Still standing outside, Bradley sees and
waits for the men as they climb down and walk toward him.
He shakes hands with one of the men and the other hands him a
large envelope and pats him on the shoulder. Bradley, not
amused by the gift, tries to give the envelope back but the
men refuse to take it. The two men then turn and walk away
from him and climb back into their carriage wave as they
drive off. Bradley seems disgusted when he rips open the
envelope and pulls out a large stack of cash.
99 INT. CAPITOL BUILDING - HOUSE FLOOR - DAY 99
SUPERED: March 2, 1877 - The House of Representatives meets
before the Special Commission announces their decision.
By a vote of 137 to 88, the House
of Representatives adopts a series
of preambles introductory to the
Resolved by the House of
Representatives of the United
That it is the duty of the House to
declare, and this House does
solemnly declare that Samuel J.
Tilden, of the State of New York ,
received 196 electors votes for the
office of the President of the
United States, all of which votes
were cast and lists thereof signed,
certified, and transmitted to the
seat of the government, directed to
the President of the Senate, in
conformity with the Constitution
and laws of the United States, by
electors legally eligible and
qualified as such electors, each of
whom has been duly appointed and
elected in the manner directed by
the Legislature of the State in and
for which he cast his vote
aforesaid: and that said Samuel J.
Tilden having thus received the
votes of the majority of the
electors appointed aforesaid, he is
thereby duly elected President of
the United States of America for
the term of four years commencing
on the 4th day of March, A.D. 1877;
and this House further declares
that Thomas A.
Hendricks, having received the same
number of electoral votes for the
office of Vice President of the
Unites States that were cast for
Samuel J. Tilden for President as
aforesaid, and at the same time and
in the same manner, it is the
opinion of this House that the said
Thomas A. Hendricks, of the State
of Indiana, is duly elected Vice
President of the Untied States for
the term of four years commencing
on the 4th day of March, A.D. 1877.
100 INT. TILDEN MANSION - READING ROOM - NIGHT 100
SUPERED: March 2, 1877 - Electoral Commission Decision at
At the Tilden estate in New York, Mary, William Pelton,
Samuel and John Bigelow play a game of cards. Samuel is calm,
relaxed and all seem to enjoy each others company.
There are four disputed states and
you only need one Electoral vote to
end this charade.
The cards are stacked against me
John with Bradley. He's a
Republican and I have a strong
sense he will vote strictly along
George Smith walks into the room and places a telegram into
Samuel hands. Samuel reads it and places it on a nearby table
without saying a word. Samuel watches in silence as Mary
leans over and picks up the telegram and reads it silently at
first, then clears her throat.
By a party line vote they have
decided 8 to 7. Hayes is elected.
Mary crumples the telegram in her hand.
Seems to me William was much more
bent on going to Washington then
Maybe so, but it's over now.
Samuel stands and calls out to George Smith.
Mr. Smith, I need to send a wire.
101 INT. CAPITOL - HOUSE FLOOR - NIGHT 101
SUPERED: March 2, 1877 - 5 a.m. Representatives, Hewitt and
Randall argue in the House that the Special Electoral
Commission is unconstitutional. The Congressmen and Senators
are arguing fiercely with each other, with accusations flying
back and from across the room.
John Reid and Zach Chandler listen to their boisterous
exchanges. Then Chandler smiles and puts his arm around
Reid's shoulder and grips him tightly.
Well done Mr. Reid - well done.
At the front of the room, Speaker Randall stands with Senator
Ferry at his side. Ferry bangs the gavel to stop the men from
arguing. Hewitt and the others ignore Ferry. Ferry continues
to bang his gavel.
Gentlemen we must have order… we
must have order!
As the men continue to bicker, a TELLER enters the chamber
and walks directly to Speaker Samuel Randall. Without a word,
in the midst of the chaos, he hands Randall a telegram and
walks away. Randall reads the telegram, and then hands it to
Senator Ferry. After reading the telegram, Ferry steps down
off the center podium and Randall steps up. He takes the
gavel and bangs it.
GENTLEMEN - I HAVE JUST RECEIVED A
WIRE FROM SAMUEL TILDEN!
His announcement gets everyone's attention and the men stop
arguing and turn to listen.
Governor Tilden is willing to let
the count be concluded.
There is a pause of brief silence and the men begin to fight
again. Senator Ferry steps back up to the podium.
HAYES AND WHEELER ARE HEREBY DULY
Hewitt, after hearing the announcement, collapses to the
floor and several Representatives run over to help him up and
escort him out of the House Chambers.
Reid and Zach Chandler, along with some other Republicans,
break out in smiles and quietly pat each other on the back
for their win. William Chandler enters the area.
If it wasn't for you --
Damn those Dirty Democrats -
justice has been served. They are
not fit to run this country.
102 EXT. HARRISBURG, PA - TRAIN STATION - NIGHT 102
SUPERED: March 3, 1877 Midnight. The train Rutherford Hayes
is a passenger on, along with his wife Lucy, stops at the
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania train station. On this day, he is
silent to any others about his feelings and how humiliated he
feels by the actions taking place in Congress on his behalf.
He considers himself to be an honorable man and realizes that
the Republicans have commandeered the Oval Office using dirty
103 EXT. NEW YORK CITY - NEWSPAPER ROW - DAY 103
104 INSERT: NEWSPAPERS ROLLING OFF THE PRESS. HEADLINE: "HAYES IS104
105 EXT. WASHINGTON DC - TRAIN STATION - DAY 105
SUPERED: Instead of accepting President Grant's invitation to
go directly to the White House, Hayes decides it's best to
stay low key for the time being and thinks it's a good idea
to accept Senator Sherman's invitation to stay at his home.
With all that has gone on, Hayes is not sure, himself, if he
and Lucy will be safe. He considered the thought that the
Tilden supporters might try to assassinate him before he is
sworn into office.
Rutherford B. Hayes train arrives in Washington, Senator
Sherman is there to escort him along with a few Federal
soldiers on horseback.
106 EXT. WHITE HOUSE - STREET - DAY 106
Soldiers follow the Hayes' carriage to protect him from the
many disenchanted unruly and angry Tilden supporters. Hayes
is greeted at the door by President Grant.
SUPERED: March 3, 1877- 5 p.m.- In line with his earlier
decision to be low key about the whole event, Hayes requests
that there be no large ceremony for his swearing in under the
tense circumstances. Grant agrees and swears Hayes into the
Presidency, with his wife Lucy at his side.
SUPERED: President Hayes was sworn into office in a more
formal ceremony on March 5, 1877. Tilden Supporters carried
signs to protest and nicknamed the new President; "Old 7 to
8" "Rutherfraud," "His Fraudulency," and "His Accidency."
SUPERED: The World newspaper reports that Mr. Tilden, under
the alleged authority of General Woodford, the United States
District Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is
about to take the oath of office as President in New York and
proclaim himself President of the Untied States. When asked
by other reporters if this is true, John Bigelow responds,
with Tilden's approval, by a written letter it is not true,
but what the country has lost by the fraud.
107 EXT. NEW YORK CITY - MANHATTAN CLUB - DAY 107
SUPERED: Wednesday June 13, 1877 - Manhattan Club.
The crowd, mostly made up of his supporters, is huge and
fills the area with hardly a space left to stand.
Mr. President and Gentlemen of the
Manhattan Club. I accepted your
invitation under the idea that this
was to be a merely social meeting.
Samuel takes a moment to clear his throat. He starts again.
Everybody knows that, after the
recent election, the men who were
elected by the people President and
Vice President of the United States
were "counted out," and men who
were not elected were "counted in"
Immediately, there are some sneers and booing from the crowd.
Samuel waits for them to settle down.
I disclaim any thought of the
personal wrong involved in this
transaction. Not by any act or word
of mine shall that be dwarfed or
degraded into a personal grievance,
which is, in truth, the greatest
wrong that has stained our national
Samuel stops for a moment then continues with a lot of
emotion and new found inner-strength.
If my voice could reach throughout
our country and be heard in its
remotest hamlet I would say be of
good cheer. The Republic will live.
The institutions of our fathers are
not to expire in shame. The
sovereignty of the people shall be
rescued from this peril and be re
established. Successful wrongs
never appears so triumphant as on
the very eve of its fall. Seven
years ago a corrupt dynasty
culminated in its power over the
million of people who live in the
city of New York. It has conquered
or bribed, or flattered and won
almost everybody into acquiescence.
It appeared to be invincible.
A year or two later its members in
Tammany Hall were in the
penitentiaries or in exile. History
abounds in similar examples. We
must believe in the right and in
the future. A great and noble
nation will not sever its political
from its moral life.
A thunderous applause and cheers ring out through crowd.
SUPERED: New York Governor Samuel Tilden, who built his great
wealth as a railroad attorney departed during the summer for
a cruise to visit his family roots in Europe. During his time
away, many of his supporters vowed to get even...Thus, the
mood of the country grew darker, as those who had voted for
Tilden felt disenfranchised. Samuel Tilden made his great
wealth as a Railroad attorney and all in the industry
SUPERED: President Hayes soon found himself faced with "The
Great Railroad Strike of 1877" which began on July 14 in
Martinsburg, West Virginia. It lasted some 45 days and was
put down by local and state militias and federal troops.
SUPERED: The 1876 Election Deal: Thomas Scott, of the
Pennsylvania Railroad, delivered the disputed congressional
votes to Hayes in exchange for a federal bailout of failing
investments in the Texas and Pacific railroad. While it is
not clear if this deal led to Hayes' sending of federal
troops to the strike-torn areas, the possibility of a quid
pro quo arrangement was tenable.
SUPERED: While no complete accounting of the economic losses
caused by this strike exists, it is known that the engineers'
and firemen's brotherhoods lost approximately $600,000 over
the forty-five days of the strike, while for the Burlington
Railroad the losses were at least $2,100,000.
SUPERED: In Pittsburgh, it was estimated that property damage
reached about five million dollars, with Chicago, Baltimore
and other cities facing losses of a similar magnitude.
108 EXT - SCYTHIA CRUISE LINER - ATLANTIC OCEAN - NIGHT 108
Samuel stands by the rail looking out at the quiet, serene
ocean and starlit night sky. He turns and smiles when he sees
John Bigelow walking toward him with Celeste Stauffer.
Something about her is familiar to him.
Samuel this young woman has asked
for and introduction.
Have we met before?
Celeste Stauffer extends her hand into his.
In passing Mr. President when I
nearly ran your carriage off the
road in Central Park. I am Celeste
Stauffer from New Orleans,
As the two begin to talk, Bigelow could see that Samuel was
smitten by her southern charms. John quietly walks away and
leaves the two of them alone on the ship's deck.
109 EXT. NEW YORK CITY - SHIP DOCK - DAY 109
The Scythia docks in New York Harbor. A huge crowd of Tilden
supporters and dignitaries wait to welcome Samuel home. There
is a marching band playing loud music and the atmosphere is
one of celebration. The people wave signs printed in bold
letters; "President Tilden, the Peoples President"
As passengers disembark, Samuel walks down the gangplank with
Marie Stauffer on his arm. Marie's mother and John Bigelow
follow. Samuel stops mid way and looks across the crowd. The
band stops playing.
You were robbed of the Presidency!
I did not get robbed...
The people got robbed. Robbed of
the dearest rights of American
citizens. Young men, we who have
guarded the sacred traditions of
our free government will soon leave
that work to you. Whether our
institutions shall be preserved
will depend on you. Will you
accomplish that duty, and mark the
wrongdoers of 1876 with the
indignation of a betrayed, wronged
and sacrificed people?
I swear in the presence of all of
you today and I call upon you to
bear witness to the oath, to watch,
during the remainder of my life,
over the rights of the citizens of
our country with jealous care. Such
usurpation must never occur again.
The crowd roars with thunderous applause and cheers
expressing their admiration for Tilden.
Mary stands near the front of the crowd with her grand
daughter Susan and her son, Colonel William Pelton. Several
dignitaries, including Honest John Kelly cheer with the
crowd. The band begins to play again. Samuel sees his sister
Mary and he waves to her. She waves back. Samuel looks at her
and takes his hand and places it under his suit jacket to his
heart and thumps it. Mary smiles.
SUPERED: In 1880 the Democratic Party wanted desperately for
Samuel Tilden to run for President again...Tilden declined
the nomination because of his poor health...
SUPERED: Samuel Tilden died on August 4, 1886 at his Hudson
River farm estate called, "Graystone" where he spent his
final years consulting top democrats. Samuel Tilden earned
the nicknames: "The Greatest Democrat Ever" "The Greatest
SUPERED: Tilden bequeathed most of his estate to build the
New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. The
library project was blocked by the powers that be that didn't
want to see Tilden honored this way. Tilden's best friend and
confidant, the Honorable John Bigelow fought several court
battles all the way to the New York Supreme court to keep
Tilden's dream of a free library alive. After the library was
opened John Bigelow passed away peacefully.
SUPERED: On August 8, 2001 - one month before the 9/11 World
Trade Towers attack New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
signed a bill adding the name "John Bigelow Plaza" to the
intersection of 41st Street and Fifth Avenue, Manhattan,
directly in front of the famous main branch of the New York
Public Library. John Bigelow's estate at Highland Falls, New
York, known as The Squirrels, was listed on the National
Register of Historic Places in 1982.[2
SUPERED: Samuel Tilden's statue and tombstone are engraved:
"I Trust the People" and "I Still Trust the People" Tilden's
Gramercy Park mansion is a historic landmark and currently
owned by the National Arts Club.
SUPERED: Across America people named their children, streets,
towns, schools and buildings after Samuel J. Tilden. He and
his legacy have all but been forgotten in American history.
SUPERED: John Reid, Editor of the New York Times was ignored
by the Republican party after the election and never rewarded
him as they promised. His career with the New York Times
ended soon after Hayes took office. Every news organization
he wrote afterwards for never kept him on. His wife was in
Italy when he died alone in his small apartment in New York
SUPERED: Samuel Tilden never conceded his Presidency,
although many modern Republican writers claim he did when he
gave his speech at the Press Club. It angered many that he
would not take his rightful place as President. He believed
in peace and after a bloody Civil War he didn't want to see
any more blood to be shed, especially not in his name.
FADE TO BLACK
Script created with Final Draft by Final Draft, Inc.