Author's note: This one is probably a bit overly dramatic, but it was fun to write. It's set after Colin and Emily move back to town, but before they have Josh. If there are any other Snowy River fans out there, I'd love to hear from you.

It is late afternoon. Kathleen, Michael, and Mr. Gleeson are in the printing office. They are getting ready to close the shop for the day.

KATHLEEN: Michael, you need to go out and sweep up in front before we go home.

Michael takes a broom and goes outside. He sees a barred prison wagon with two armed troopers up front come up the street and stop in front of the police station. He goes back inside.

MICHAEL: Mum, Mr. Gleeson. Come see. It's a prison wagon.

Kathleen and Mr. Gleeson come outside.

MR. GLEESON: They must be the men from Blane's Ravine.

MICHAEL: The ones who killed that woman?

Kathleen and Mr. Gleeson look at each other uncomfortably and Michael moves closer to the wagon.

KATHLEEN: Get away from there, Michael.

MICHAEL: I want to see what they look like. I've never seen anyone who's killed someone.

KATHLEEN: They're not circus exhibits, Michael. They're criminals who've committed...

She catches Mr. Gleeson's eye and Michael watches them expectantly.

KATHLEEN: Committed terrible crimes. Now come away.

Michael comes to stand with his mother and Mr. Gleeson. Kathleen turns to Michael.

KATHLEEN: Go inside.

Michael goes back into the office, but Kathleen and Mr. Gleeson watch as the two troopers unload the prisoners and take them into the police station. A crowd on the street has gathered and is also watching.

KATHLEEN: I wish they didn't have to stay here.

MR. GLEESON: I'm sure they'll move on in the morning. They're taking them to Melbourne to stand trial.

KATHLEEN: Such a violent and senseless crime. That poor woman. It's horrible to think of what she must have gone through. How can there be such monsters in this world?

Mr. Gleeson puts his hand on her arm.

MR. GLEESON: Come on. Let's finish putting the paper to bed.

The next morning, at Langara. Matt, Rob, and Danni are seated at the breakfast table. Danni gets up when she hears a buggy drive up. She looks out the door.

DANNI: It's Colin and Emily.

She goes to greet them and leads them inside.

MATT: Good morning. Have you had breakfast?

EMILY: Thank you, but we ate before we came. Are Kathleen and Michael gone already?

MATT: Kathleen wanted to get an early start at the paper. She took Michael with her.

Rob looks up and frowns when he sees Colin dressed in his black suit and collar.

ROB: Speaking of getting an early start, you can't help bring down the horses dressed like that, Colin. I thought you wanted to come with Dad and me.

COLIN: I do. But Emily convinced me we need to make some calls. We just stopped by on the way. We've been missing John and Martha Jensen in church these past weeks. I don't think they've been in town since John's fall last month.

EMILY: We thought we'd go up and see if they need anything-visit with them for a bit.

MATT: It's a long way up there.

COLIN: Part of the job, Dad. If we leave early, we'll be back in town before sunset.

DANNI: I'll help you make a basket to take. I can put in some of the little cakes I made yesterday.

Matt rises from the table.

MATT: We'll leave you to it, then. Come on, Rob, we've got horses to bring down.

At the same time, on the road several miles outside of town. The two troopers are riding in the front of the prison wagon, transporting the two prisoners.

GUARD 1: I'll be glad when we're done with this job. They're a surly pair.

GUARD 2: Chaps who did what they did are usually none too pleasant.

A snake in the road frightens the horses. They bolt and the driver cannot get control. As the horses race away with the wagon, a pin comes loose and the wagon comes unhitched from the team. It tumbles down the embankment as the team runs on. The wagon turns over several times and comes to rest at the bottom of the hill.

As the dust clears, it is seen that the guards have been thrown from the wagon. One is moving, but the other is still. In the back of the wagon, the barred door has sprung open. The two prisoners emerge, shaken but unharmed. Each has handcuffs around the wrists and their legs are shackled together. They check one of the guards on the ground.

Prisoner 1, a man called Tate, turns to his partner.

TATE: He's dead.

Tate takes a key from the man's jacket and hands it to his partner, a man called Conway. Conway inserts it into the cuffs on Tate's wrists and then Tate, his hands free, unlocks the shackles. He unlocks Conway's cuffs and tosses the key aside. Tate takes the pistol from the dead guard and goes to the other guard on the ground. As he is doing so, the guard pulls his gun to shoot, but the prisoner shoots him first. Tate takes that gun also, and the two prisoners run up the embankment to the road.

Later. Colin and Emily are driving in their buggy, passing the place where the wagon wrecked. It and the two dead guards are at the bottom of the embankment, but they don't notice and drive on.

EMILY: Are you sure you don't mind not being out with your dad and Rob today? I know how much you look forward to going up with the horses.

Colin puts his arm around her and kisses her on the cheek.

COLIN: It's a beautiful day and I've got my best girl with me. I like this, Emily, being with you. This is what makes me happy.

Emily smiles and leans her head on his shoulder. Suddenly two men in prison clothing appear in front of the buggy and point pistols at Colin and Emily. The horse rears, but Colin is able to steady him.

TATE: Well, look what we have here. A preacher man and a pretty little lady. Climb down from there, Preacher Man, nice and easy.

Colin climbs from the buggy. Conway searches Colin for a weapon, then begins to help Emily down.

COLIN: Don't touch her.

Tate punches Colin in the stomach and Colin doubles over. Emily screams.

TATE: Now, Preacher Man, you just watch what you say to us and we'll get along fine. You, pretty lady, out of there.

Emily rushes to Colin and helps him up.

COLIN: What do you want? We have nothing of value.

Conway eyes Emily and both prisoners snicker.

CONWAY: You just let us decide that. You know these parts?

COLIN: I was raised here.

TATE: Good. Then the first thing you can do for us is take us someplace where we can hole up for a bit. Someplace no one is likely to nose around.

COLIN: I know a place. Let my wife stay here and I'll take you there.

CONWAY: You are a funny man, for a preacher man. No, your wife goes where we go. That way you're more likely to behave yourself, don't you think? Now, you're going to climb back up on that rig, and your little wife is going to climb in right beside you. My friend here and me will just sort of hunker in with you. Oh, and Preacher Man? Just in case you get any ideas, we'll have a gun pointed. Right at the lady's pretty head.

Colin and Emily return to the buggy, Emily sitting close to Colin and clutching his arm. Tate squeezes in beside Emily, and Conway sits behind the three. Conway has a gun pointed at Emily's head. Colin signals the horse to move and the buggy goes up the road.

Later. The horse leaves the main road and turns up a smaller, less maintained path. Colin points to a shack near a small, fenced meadow at the edge of the woods.

COLIN: We used to hold horses in the paddock up here. No one uses it anymore. Even our family hasn't been up here in years.

The buggy moves in front of the shack and Colin stops the horse.

TATE: You did real good, Preacher Man. But just to make sure, you go in first. My partner and me will keep the lady company.

Colin goes into the shack and comes back out.

COLIN: It's clear. You got what you wanted. Now let us go.

CONWAY: We ain't got nearly enough. No, Preacher Man, not nearly enough.

They get out of the buggy and allow Colin to help Emily down.

TATE: You, lady, get that basket out of here and take it inside.

COLIN: It's heavy. I'll get it.

TATE: No. I said the lady. You keep your hands where we can see 'em. Inside, both of you.

They all go in, Colin and Emily first and the others following, one with a gun pointed at Colin's back. Colin whispers assurances to Emily as they enter the shack.

The prisoners look around inside. There is a cot, a small table with two chairs, and a pot-bellied stove.

TATE: This will do just fine. Lady, you rustle up something for us to eat. You, Preacher Man, you're going to go out on an errand for us.

COLIN: I'm not going anywhere without my wife.

Conway clucks his tongue.

CONWAY: Well, now, I can surely understand you not wanting to be without her.

He goes to Emily, who is unpacking the basket, and touches her cheek.

CONWAY: Pretty skin. Soft skin.

Colin loses all control. He lunges at Conway, who hits him in the side of the head with the pistol. Colin goes down and then the prisoner kicks him viciously several times in the ribs. Emily is screaming Colin's name and begging the man to stop. She tries to go to Colin, but Tate holds her back.

Tate turns to Conway.

TATE: That's enough. We still need him. You can finish this later, when we're through with him.

Tate shoves Emily at Conway, who holds his arms around her shoulders.

EMILY: Let me go to him!

TATE: Your concern is very touching, but he's on his own from here on in.

Tate stands over Colin, who is obviously dazed and in pain.

TATE: Now you listen good. You get up, and get out and unhitch that horse. Then you get on it and ride. You go back to wherever it was you came from, and you bring us all the money you can get hold of. You got any money, Preacher Man?

COLIN: I'll get some.

TATE: That's good. You do that. And you get us riding clothes and you get us two horses with saddles and enough food to last us two days' ride. You be back here by nightfall. You do everything just right, Preacher Man, and you might get to see your wife again. But if anyone finds us here, or if you bring anyone with you, then she's dead.

COLIN: You...

TATE: Don't worry. One shot, nice and clean. Not like at Blane's Ravine.

Colin's face registers surprise and horror.

TATE: I see you've heard of us.

He looks at Emily.

TATE: She's a pretty little thing, all right.

COLIN: I'll do everything you want me to. But I beg you, don't hurt her.

TATE: Begging. That's a nice touch. Now get up.

Colin struggles to his feet, clutching his side and wiping away blood which is coming from the wound to his head. He looks long at Emily before leaving and mouths "I love you" to her.

Same time. Rob and Matt are up in a high meadow. They are riding alongside a mob of horses, driving them toward a fenced paddock. Rob's horse suddenly stumbles and both Rob and the horse go down. Matt quickly rides over to Rob and dismounts. He helps Rob to his feet.

MATT: You all right?

ROB: Yeah, I'm fine. He must have stepped in a hole.

Rob goes to the horse, which has regained its footing.

ROB: Easy, boy. Let's check you out.

Matt feels the horse's legs and frowns when he checks a foreleg.

MATT: It could be a bit sprained. I don't think it's anything serious, but you don't want to take any chances. You'd better get him home.

ROB: You might as well come too. This isn't a one-man job up here.

MATT: We've got 'em this far. Might as well try to get them contained. You go on ahead. I'll finish up here and we can come back tomorrow and bring them down. I'll be along soon. I'm going to stop in town and ride home with Kathleen and Michael.

ROB: Too bad we don't have Colin. We could get them down today.

MATT: Oh, well. He's probably enjoying a nice cup of tea and listening to one of John's yarns about now.

Rob nods in agreement and leads his horse down the hill.

At Langara. Colin rides through the gate and up to the house. His unsaddled horse is lathered and obviously overworked. Colin slides off and runs toward the stable, stumbling and out of breath. Danni is on the veranda watering a plant and rushes after him.

DANNI: Colin! What is it? What's wrong?

She sees his bloody face and reaches out for him.

DANNI: Oh, Colin. Let me help you. Where's Emily?

Colin rushes past her and into the stable. He grabs two saddlebags and then runs to the house, Danni running after him, demanding to know what is the matter. Colin hurries into the front room and takes an ornate box from the cabinet. He opens it and begins to stuff money into one of the saddlebags.

Danni tries to grab his arm, but he brushes her aside roughly.

DANNI: Colin, you're scaring me. Where's Emily?

COLIN: Just leave me alone, Danni. Don't ask me any questions.

DANNI: But you're bleeding.

COLIN: Okay, I do need your help. Get me two full sets of clothes, for riding. Rob's or Dad's. Then take these bags and fill them full of food-whatever you have. Can you do that?

Danni has begun to cry, but she nods.

COLIN: Good girl. I'll be back soon.

He leaves and goes outside to the stable. While Colin is in the stable, Rob comes through the gate, leading his horse. He sees the wheezing and lathered horse that Colin has ridden and goes to it angrily.

ROB: Who did this to you, boy? Easy, easy.

Danni looks out the window and sees Rob. She runs to him.

ROB: Who ran this horse so hard?

Danni is crying, and Rob puts his hands on her shoulders and faces her.

ROB: What is it? What's happened?

DANNI: It's Colin. He's in some kind of trouble. He's hurt and he's acting so strangely. I'm scared, Rob.

ROB: Where is he?

Danni nods toward the stable, where Colin is leading out two horses. Rob goes to him.

ROB: Colin?

COLIN: Out of my way, Rob.

Colin leads the horses to the rail, then goes back in the stable and gets a saddle. He begins to saddle one of the horses.

ROB: Where are you going? Why is your head bleeding?

COLIN: Where's your extra saddle?

ROB: What are you doing? You just saddled a horse.

COLIN: Don't ask me questions, Rob.

ROB: Colin, let me help you.

COLIN: If you want to help, then get me your saddle. Now, Rob.

Rob and Danni exchange looks, and Rob goes into the stable and comes out with a saddle. He begins to saddle the other horse.

COLIN: I need those things now, Danni.

Danni goes into the house and Rob turns to Colin.

ROB: You need help, Colin. I don't know what you're doing, but I don't think you should be doing it alone.

COLIN: I have to do it alone.

Danni returns with a bundle of clothes and the saddlebags. She hands them to Colin and he secures them on one of the horses. Danni has a bandage in her hand.

DANNI: Please, Colin. Let me wrap this on your head. It's bleeding.

Colin allows Danni to wipe the blood away and wrap the bandage around his head, then he mounts one of the horses, holding his side as he does so.

ROB: You can't ride like that. You're hurt. Dad will be back soon. Just wait. He'll help.

Colin's voice is panicked.

COLIN: No. You don't tell Dad about this. Don't even tell him I was here. I'm going to ride out of here, and you're not going to follow me. Promise me, Rob.

ROB: Colin...

COLIN: Rob, listen to me. I wouldn't ask you to do this if it wasn't important. If you come after me, or if you tell Dad I was here, I'll never forgive you. I mean that.

DANNI: Oh, Colin.

COLIN: You too, Danni. Promise me.

Danni nods and Colin looks to Rob, but he gets no affirmation. Colin leans over and grabs the reins of the extra horse. Then, leading the horse, he rides out the gate.

In town. There is a cluster of men standing outside the printing office, talking excitedly. Matt pushes past them and enters the office. He sees Kathleen busy setting type. Michael is inking a page.

MATT: What's going on?

KATHLEEN: The prison wagon that was transporting the convicts from Blane's Ravine has been found overturned on the road outside of town. The two constables are dead, one of them shot.

MATT: Are they organizing a search party?

KATHLEEN: We cabled for troopers. They're on their way, but the townsmen are going out soon. I'm sure they could use your help.

MATT: Can you leave this for now? I'd feel better if I knew you and Michael were safe at Langara. I don't like the looks of that mob out there. Let's get you home, then I can come back with Rob and go out with the men.

Kathleen looks out the window at the cluster of excited men.

KATHLEEN: It might be a good idea if Colin were to come back to town. The thought of two men like that on the loose has some of the people close to a panic.

Matt looks at her strangely.

KATHLEEN: What is it?

MATT: Emily and Colin. They went on calls today. Clear up to Jensens' place.

Kathleen squeezes his arm reassuringly.

KATHLEEN: I'm sure they're fine. Come on; help me close up the office.

At Langara. Matt, Kathleen, and Michael enter the house. Danni and Rob go to the door to greet them.

MATT: Rob, you need to saddle up. We've got some riding to do.

ROB: What is it, Dad?

MATT: Escaped convicts. Two of them are in the area.

Danni puts her hand to her mouth and sits down quickly. Matt goes to her.

MATT: It's all right, sweetie. You're safe enough here.

Danni shakes her head and begins to cry.

ROB: Dad...

DANNI: No, Rob, you can't. You promised.

ROB: I didn't promise him, Danni. You did.

MATT: Promise who? What's going on? Tell me now, Rob.

ROB: It's Colin. He's in some kind of trouble. He came back and saddled two horses, then rode out again. He seemed...I don't know...desperate.

DANNI: He was hurt, Dad. His head was bleeding and I think he might be hurt someplace else, too. He took the money you were going to put in the bank tomorrow. And he wanted food and clothes.

MATT: Where was Emily?

Matt looks from Rob to Danni, but they look at the floor. Matt grabs Rob by the arm.

MATT: Come on, Rob. Was Emily with him?

ROB: No, Dad.

KATHLEEN: Oh, no. They have Emily. Oh, Matt.

MICHAEL: Who has Emily, Mum?

KATHLEEN: Hush now, Michael.

MATT: How long ago was Colin here?

ROB: A little over an hour. If we ride hard we can catch him. He's leading an extra horse.

MATT: Let's move then. If Colin came back not too long ago, then he never made it to Jensens'. He wouldn't have had time to get there and home again. If these men came across Colin and Emily this morning, then at least we know what direction to look in. We need to be out there before that mob of a search party is. God knows what they'll do if they find them.

KATHLEEN: Let us help.

MATT: We'll need food, blankets, lanterns. And tear some bandages, Kathleen.

Kathleen and Danni exchange looks, then both leave the room.

Later. Matt and Rob are riding on the road.

ROB: They've got to be waiting for Colin somewhere if they want those things he took from home. I don't think they'd stay near the main road, Dad.

MATT: You're right about that. We need to think of a place around here they could have gone, someplace with shelter where they could wait for Colin. Think, Rob.

ROB: I can't think of anything around here. Not even any houses but Jensens', and you already said he couldn't have gone there.

MATT: There has to be something. Rob, what about the hut next to that old paddy?

ROB: The one near the north ridge? I think it's our best bet. Let's try it.

Later. Rob and Matt ride and see Colin ahead of them. Colin is slumped on his horse, barely hanging on.

ROB: Oh, Dad.

Matt spurs his horse and catches up to Colin. Colin ignores him and glares at Rob. Then he rides up next to Rob and pulls him off onto the ground, landing on top of him as he does so. Matt dismounts and pulls Colin away from Rob.

COLIN: Damn you, Rob! I said tell no one. Did you understand that?

Rob starts to reply, but Matt shakes his head. He leads Colin to a fallen log and pushes him down.

MATT: It's all right, son. We know about the convicts. There'll be a search party out soon. We know they have Emily. Tell us what happened.

Colin takes a deep breath.

COLIN: They jumped out in front of the buggy. They were both armed. They told me to take them someplace where they could hide out.

MATT: That old hut?

Colin nods.

COLIN: They told me to get them money and clothes. They kept Emily. They said they'd kill her if I wasn't back before dark or if I brought anyone with me. I believe them, Dad.

Colin's voice breaks and he puts his hand to his face. Matt puts his hand on Colin's shoulder.

MATT: It's going to be okay, son. You have to believe in that. You've always put your faith in the Lord; don't lose sight of that now. You know He's not going to let anything happen to Emily.

Colin looks up at Matt hopelessly.

COLIN: Those are the men from Blane's Ravine, Dad.

Matt squeezes Colin's shoulder.

MATT: We know, Colin.

COLIN: The Lord has nothing to do with men like that.

MATT: Maybe not. But He has everything to do with Emily. You hold on to that, huh?

Colin nods and Matt smiles at him.

MATT: Let's get you taken care of. We have some time before nightfall and you're of no help to Emily this way.

Matt motions to Rob, who gets bandages. Matt changes the bandage on Colin's head.

MATT: That's nasty. It should be stitched up later.

Colin begins to rise, but he winces and clutches his side as he does so.

MATT: Sit back down.

Matt lifts Colin's shirt and runs his hand along Colin's side.

MATT: I think you've got some cracked ribs, son. We'll wrap them up.

COLIN: I just want to get to Emily, Dad.

Rob hands Matt a roll of cloth and Colin takes off his shirt.

Matt winds cloth around Colin's ribs as he speaks.

MATT: We need to think this through. Have you thought about what they're going to do when you get back there?

COLIN: They'll have what they need and they'll let us go.

MATT: Maybe. But when they're ready to move again, taking a hostage with them might get them further than they could get on their own.

COLIN: What? You mean they'd take us with them?

MATT: I don't think so. I mean, I'm not sure they'd take both of you. You would slow them down the way you are right now, and a woman is a better hostage anyway.

COLIN: I've got to get her out of there, Dad. I can't stand to think of Emily with them. They'll hurt her. I know they will. I saw them. I saw the way they looked at her.

He tries to rise, but Matt pushes him back down.

MATT: Easy. Easy.

ROB: Maybe we could ambush them somehow.

MATT: It's too risky for Emily. Colin said they're both armed, and one of them is bound to be on watch outside.

COLIN: Whatever you do, Dad, they have to think I came alone. Please.

Colin looks at Rob.

COLIN: You broke my trust once, Rob. This time you have to let me go alone.

ROB: Colin, I just...

MATT: Rob, you can't deal with this now. Colin, can you ride?

Colin nods.

COLIN: It's not far now.

MATT: Okay. Rob and I will leave the horses when we get closer and walk in. If both men go inside, we can get to the hut unseen. Then if we wait for one of them to come out again, maybe we can take him.

ROB: And the other one?

MATT: I don't know, Rob. Maybe Colin...or Emily...could distract him long enough to disarm him.

Matt looks at Colin carefully, but Colin says nothing. Matt ties off the bandage, and Colin puts his shirt back on and goes to stand by the horses. Matt follows him.

MATT: Colin, when we get a bit closer, leave one of the horses and the money behind.

COLIN: But...

Matt puts his hand on Colin's shoulder.

MATT: Once they have everything they need, son, they'll have no more use for you.

COLIN: Dad, if something happens, and you can't get both me and Emily out of this, promise that you'll do whatever you can to help Emily. No matter what that means.

MATT: Do you know what you're asking me? You're my son, Colin. I love you.

COLIN: And I love Emily. With everything that I have, that I am, I love her. Dad, I don't think I know how to be here without her. I don't want to be here without her. If it's the last thing you ever do for me, promise me this.

MATT: I promise, Colin.


Rob is holding back tears, but he nods his head. The three men mount the horses and ride up the road.

Later. The sky is golden with the colors of sunset. Colin approaches the shack. Tate is outside and goes over to Colin, pulling him roughly off his horse.

TATE: What is this, Preacher Man? We said two horses.

COLIN: The other's near. I want to see my wife.

TATE: You are a very stupid man. You get that other horse up here or you won't have a wife to see.

COLIN: Just let me see her. Bring her to the door.

Tate shouts toward the shack.

TATE: Preacher Man is back. Says he wants to see the little lady.

Soon the door opens and Conway appears, holding Emily in front of him and pointing a gun to her head.

COLIN: Emily!

EMILY: I'm all right. They haven't hurt me. Just do what they say.

TATE: Now that's real good advice. You go get that horse, and by God that better be all you left behind.

Colin leaves to get the horse and the saddlebags, which he had left behind some trees. He passes Rob and Matt, who are crouched behind some bushes, but he just shakes his head.

When Colin returns with the horse, Tate orders him down. He points his gun at Colin and grabs the saddlebags with the other hand. He throws them so they hit the door of the shack. Conway opens the door and picks them up and takes them inside.

Conway shouts from the shack.

CONWAY: He brought it. Everything's here.

TATE: That was real smart of you, Preacher Man. Now, your part is over.

He points a gun to Colin's head.

COLIN: Wait! My part's not over. I told you I was raised in this country. I know what it's like as well as any man out searching for you. Better. I can lead you out of here so that no one will ever be able to follow you.

Tate hesitates for a moment, then jabs the gun in Colin's back.

TATE: Get inside.

The two of them enter the shack. Colin's eyes seek Emily's, and they share a long look, but neither speaks.

CONWAY: What's he doing here? I thought we agreed about him.

TATE: He says he can lead us out of here.

CONWAY: He doesn't look in very good shape to me. He'll just slow us down.

COLIN: You can't leave until morning. I'll be fine then.

TATE: You better be. Maybe it's the girl we don't need.

CONWAY: Well, now, that's a thought. But I'll tell you. I've gotten kind of fond of her, and I think she's warming up to me. Besides, how we going to make sure Preacher Man behaves himself without a little insurance?

TATE: Maybe you're right. But I want him tied up if he's going to be here all night. The girl, too.

CONWAY: I'll tie him up real good, but not her. She stays with me.

Later. It is dark outside and Matt and Rob are standing near a side of the shack, holding their rifles. Inside, there is a fire in the stove. A lamp is lit and is centered on the table in the middle of the room. Colin is sitting on the floor against a wall, his hands tied behind him and his ankles bound together, his head resting on his knees. Tate is sitting in a chair at the table, his head down and resting on his arm, still holding his pistol. Emily is sitting in the other chair, with Conway perched on the table and bending near her. Emily is trying to keep her face turned from him and shivers in fear or revulsion.

Conway nudges his comrade with his boot.

CONWAY: I think the little missus is cold. Go get some more wood for the stove.

Tate grumbles but goes outside, putting his pistol in his belt. As soon as he is away from the shack and as he is bending over to pick up a piece of wood, Matt and Rob jump him, Matt hitting him in the back of the head with the stock of his rifle. They take his weapon and drag him away into the trees.

Matt throws Rob a length of rope.

MATT: Tie him up. Gag him, too.

ROB: What about the other one?

MATT: I don't know, Rob.

Inside. Colin lifts his head and realizes the other man has not yet returned. Conway is standing behind Emily, taking the pins out of her hair and stroking it as it falls around her shoulders. He is holding his pistol carelessly.

CONWAY: I knew a girl once who had hair soft as this. A long time ago.

Emily looks to Colin for his reaction. He meets her gaze unemotionally and inches his way closer to the table.

EMILY: Tell me about her. The girl you knew a long time ago.

CONWAY: Well, now...

He hesitates and looks around the room. He sees Colin has moved away from the wall. He calls for Tate but gets no answer. Conway walks over to Colin and kicks him in the ribs. Colin winces in pain.

CONWAY: You brought someone with you, didn't you, Preacher Man? Where's Tate?

COLIN: I don't know.

CONWAY: I never wanted you here anyway. Just her. That's all I want.

He points the gun at Colin's head and cocks the trigger.

CONWAY: Say your prayers, Preacher Man.


Emily lunges at Conway, pushing all her weight into his back. Conway, thrown off balance, loses his grasp on the pistol. He turns to reach for Emily and knocks the lamp off the table onto the floor. The lamp shatters and kerosene spills onto the floor and Emily's skirts. In seconds, flames begin spreading around the bottom of her skirts. Emily screams frantically for Colin.

Outside, Matt and Rob hear Emily's screams.

MATT: Let's move.

Matt and Rob rush into the shack, Rob holding Tate's pistol. Matt looks around the room. In just a few seconds, he sees Conway recover the gun and point it at Colin, who is helpless on the floor; he sees the flames on Emily's skirts. Matt's eyes find Colin's, and then without hesitation he rushes toward Emily and almost throws her outside, where he extinguishes the flames on her skirt. A shot is heard from inside the shack, and Emily screams Colin's name. She tries to go back inside, but Matt holds her back. Soon Rob comes from the shack, dragging Colin out and safely away. Very quickly the shack is in flames.

Matt and Emily rush to Colin, and Rob takes out his knife and cuts the ropes on Colin's wrists and ankles. Colin and Emily hold each other, Emily crying. Matt and Rob move away from the two.

MATT: What happened?

ROB: I got a shot off just in time. For a second, I wasn't sure it was my shot I heard or his.

Matt looks at Colin and Emily.

MATT: Thank God it was yours.

Rob also gazes at the couple.

ROB: Is Emily all right?

MATT: I don't think she was burned.

Matt motions toward Tate, who is tied to a tree.

MATT: Can you manage him until I send some help up here?

Rob nods.

ROB: What about the fire?

MATT: It should burn itself out. The ground's too damp to keep it going. I'm going to hitch up the buggy and get these two back to Langara.

The next morning, at Langara. Colin is in the bed in the spare room, his ribs bandaged and a clean cloth around his head. Emily is sitting next to him.

EMILY: I'm going to get you some tea. Danni just fixed some.

She opens the door to leave and bumps into Rob, who is just entering.

ROB: Sorry. Dad sent me to see if you needed anything.

EMILY: I'm just going to get some tea.

ROB: I'll get it.

COLIN: No. Stay a bit, Rob. Sit down.

Emily leaves and Rob sits on the chair next to the bed.

Colin props himself higher on the pillows.

COLIN: I was hard on you, Rob, yesterday, when you told Dad I had been at the house. I'm sorry. I...I was crazy with fear about Emily. I didn't know what to do.

ROB: I know. It's okay, Col. You don't need to say anything.

COLIN: Robbie, you did the right thing, telling Dad. I just wanted you to know that, to thank you. I couldn't have done this without you. I know that now. I wouldn't have Emily here without you and Dad.

Rob squeezes his arm.

ROB: I'm just glad to have you and Emily safe.

Emily enters the room with a tray and smiles at Rob. Rob returns the smile and leaves the two of them alone, shutting the door behind him.

Emily puts the tray on the stand next to the bed, then holds a teacup out to Colin. He shakes his head.

EMILY: Don't you want any? You have to take something.

Colin shakes his head.

COLIN: Quit fussing over me, Emily. I'm fine. I told you before, as long as I'm with you I'm happy. All I need is you.

Emily puts the teacup back on the tray and sits down on the edge of the bed. She strokes the hair on Colin's forehead, moving it away from his bandage.

EMILY: I love you.

Colin smiles at her and she takes his hand.

EMILY: Last night, after we got here, I kept on waking up to watch you sleep. I had to make sure you were really there beside me. Colin, the whole time I was with them they kept telling me that they would kill you as soon as you got back. It was almost like a game to them, making me listen to what they'd do to you...and me.

COLIN: I'm sorry you had to know men like that, experience that kind of terror. I wanted to protect you from it. I'm sorry I couldn't.

EMILY: It's over now. We're together and nothing else matters. Do you believe that, Colin? That as long as we have each other, we have everything there is?

Colin looks at her, then reaches for her and brings her head down to his. He kisses her gently.

COLIN: Yes, I believe it. I believe it with all my heart.

They kiss again and the scene ends.