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THE PATRIOT FADE IN: EXT. THE SWAMPS OF SOUTH CAROLINA - NIGHT Dark. Ominous. Kudzu hangs from the swamps maples. A dark and forbidding place. A bird CRIES EERILY in the darkness. Insects HUM ominously. SUPERIMPOSITION: FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR A detachment of French soldiers with several wagons makes it's way along a muddy road cut through the swamp. The soldiers are wary, scanning the underbrush, weapons ready. In the swamp, parallel to the road, SHADOWED FIGURES, hidden among the brush, silently track the French soldiers. As the lead wagon rolls over a muddy puddle, straddling it, a MUD-COVERED FIGURE, reaches up, grabs the wagon's undercarriage, pulls itself up and clings, unseen to the underside of the wagon. The figure, obscured by the mud, barely looks human. As the other wagons roll over other muddy depressions in the road, three more mud-covered figures reach up, grab and cling to the underside of other wagons. FORT CHARLES The gates are opened. The relieved French soldiers quicken their pace and hurry into the relative safety of the fort. In the fort yard the weary detachment disperses. UNDER THE LEAD WAGON The first dark, mud-covered figure silently drops to the ground and draws a distinctive TOMAHAWK from his belt as the other figures drop from the other wagons. The figures crawl through the shadows toward the sentries who are closing the main gates. THEY SPRING... the lead figure dashes forward, raises his TOMAHAWK and HACKS DOWN at a TERRIFIED FRENCH SENTRY... The other muddy figures join the attack... stifling the screams of the French soldiers with VICIOUS KNIFE SLASHES... gaining precious seconds... A FRENCH SOLDIER CRIES OUT... sounding the alarm... other FRENCH SOLDIERS come running out of the darkness... The four muddy figures, make a stand at the gate, brutally killing the French soldiers as they come, holding the gates open as... Dozens of other muddy figures race out of the surrounding swamp, tearing through the fort gates, joining the slaughter... The lead figure, HACKS, again and again with his tomahawk... Blood and flesh cover his arm as the vicious blade rises and falls amid the SCREAMS in the darkness... DISSOLVE TO: EXT. SOUTH CAROLINA COUNTRYSIDE - DAY Beautiful sunlight. AERIAL SHOT of a post rider galloping along a road through peaceful untamed woodlands. Soaring old-growth elms arch over riverside maples along the shores of the gently curving, deep-water Santee River. SUPERIMPOSITION: SOUTH CAROLINA April, 1776 The post rider rides along a raised swamp road. On either side of the road, gorgeous shafts of sunlight pierce the canopy falling onto soft, swaying ferns that cover the high grounds. Hundreds of BIRDS SING. The water is clear, with fields of floating lily pads, each with a stark white flower rising from it. EXT. FRESH WATER PLANTATION - DAY

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