BY MATT ASENDORF
Version 1.0 - October 18, 2003;
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procession of mourners exits a building,
among them is Reverend Tom Goyer,
and several men, who are carrying
a wooden coffin that is embossed
with a cross. As the men load the
coffin into a wagon, a truck drives
by. The townsfolk stop and watch
as the carnival rolls into Tipton.
On top of one of the trucks is Ben
Hawkins, who looks down and sees
the mourners and the wooden coffin.
He has dreamt this...
At the carnival
grounds, Samson rattles off a list
of supplies for Jonesy to pick up
in town: "beans, lard, flour,
milk and sugar." He hands Jonesy
money and orders Ben to go with
him. As they drive into town, Ben
asks Jonesy if Tipton's a good town,
but Jonesy says they've never worked
it because the carnival's off the
regular circuit, and has been ever
since Ben showed up. While Samson
barks orders to the rousties, he's
approached by an old acquaintance,
the town's current sheriff, Lyle
Donovan. To Samson's surprise, Donovan
tells him that he can't set up the
"I can't let you set up.
I'm sorry, it's just the way it
is. I gotta look after my people."
SAMSON: "Your people? What
the hell you talkin' about Lyle?"
LYLE: "These people barely
got a pocket to turn out and I'm
not gonna let 'em get shook down
by no carnies."
that he runs a clean operation,
but Donovan refuses to listen. In
town, Jonesy barters at the Farmer's
Market for supplies while Ben's
attention drifts toward a truck
across the street. The side of the
truck is painted "Big Sky Farms."
Ben reaches into his pocket and
pulls out the photograph of his
mother, Flora, standing in front
of a truck -- also marked "Big
Sky Farms." Suddenly, a young
girl cries "That's him!"
and Ben turns to see Maddy Crane,
the crippled girl he healed in Milfay
standing with her grandmother. The
grandmother runs to Ben, crying
how Ben touched Maddy and made her
walk. The impoverished and sickly
residents of Tipton begin to surround
Ben, putting their hands on him
so he might heal them as well. Ben
struggles to get away. Jonesy, seeing
the commotion around Ben, angrily
tells the boy to get in the truck.
A banner is raised over the neon
sign for Mr. Chin's. It reads: "Dignity
Ministry. Come Worship With Us."
Eleanor stands outside Chin's, handing
out programs to the migrants as
they enter, shouting for others
to come worship with Brother Justin.
Inside, Justin and Iris lead the
congregation in a rendition of "Old
Time Religion." When the singing
ends, Justin preaches. He tells
the congregation that there were
people who laughed at their mission
and said that the migrants believed
God had abandoned. But Justin proclaims
that the migrants have strengthened
their faith because they have less
and his sermon is met with more
applause, cheering and singing.
Afterward, Justin is greeted by
city councilmen Ned Munson and Val
Templeton. Munson remarks to Justin
that city hall is impressed with
the ministry and would be honored
if the reverend would give them
a nickel-tour. Justin consents,
although Iris has her doubts about
the strangers' intentions.
to tell Samson what happened in
town, but Samson isn't interested.
Jonesy looks around and sees that
the carnival is no closer to being
set up, rather the tents are being
disassembled. When Samson breaks
the news, Jonesy looks at Ben...
and gets an idea. In town, Samson
meets with Reverend Goyer. Samson
tells Goyer that he hasn't been
in the carnival trade since his
troupe came across a young healer
by the name of Benjamin St. John,
and that they'd like the reverend's
endorsement to hold a revival, profits
to be split 50/50 with Goyer's church.
the revival is underway, although
Sheriff Donovan still considers
the show a "clip-joint"
and threatens to shut them down.
Samson tells Donovan that they'd
both answer to a higher authority:
The Bill of Rights, then he greets
Reverend Goyer who arrives, noticeably
excited about the revival. Goyer
tells Donovan that the "old-time
evangelism" is just the thing
to stir up the spirits of the depressed
residents of Tipton, and Donovan
can't argue with that. Backstage,
Lila is getting Ben ready for his
performance when Ruthie and Samson
approach. Their reaction to seeing
Ben all groomed and dressed in a
tuxedo is one of shock, for the
boy closely resembles... Hack Scudder.
Ben looks at himself in the mirror
and refuses to participate. Samson
tells him that's not an option.