Posing as the estranged nephew, a dangerous con man searches for a large sum of cash hidden on his aunt’s farm, only to discover that she’s looking too – and she isn’t his aunt.
The script was covered by top readers at ICM and WME, receiving high marks. Their analysts stated, “…very well executed suspense tale with a surprising ironic twist” and “swiftly moving story… solid texture and always active feel.” “Suspense mixes with uneasy sexual tension…” “Full of tension and suspense… delivers an excellent, memorable climax.”
They singled out its Main Characters, Visual Elements, Commercial Appeal, Story and Dialogue, culminating in “high entertainment value, CONSIDER.”
23-year-old RICHARD shows up unexpectedly at his dying AUNT RUTH’s farm in Minnesota. RICHARD’s never met her, and when he arrives, the extremely attractive, 48-year-old RUTH looks remarkably well, her cancer in remission. Guardedly, RUTH puts RICHARD up in the farm’s granary.
Flashback: RICHARD treks cross-country meeting a STRANGER who gives him a lift. RICHARD learns that the STRANGER is going to meet his Aunt Ruth. Rumor has it, deceased UNCLE NORMAN apparently hid his vast fortune there. RICHARD kills the STRANGER and assumes his identity.
On the farm RICHARD searches, discovering a rat’s nest made of tiny pieces of $1,000 bills. While “remodeling” RUTH dismantles part of the home’s interior, finding pieces of money in the back lining of an old painting.
RUTH and RICHARD drive into the town of Crooked Creek. Ruth frantically searches a safe deposit box, finding nothing. Uneasy with her nephew, RUTH invites SHERIFF BUD WILSON over for dinner to grill her nephew. At dinner, when Ruth steps out for a moment, SHERIFF BUD concludes that RICHARD is looking for NORMAN’s money. He gives RICHARD an ultimatum: 24 hours to find it so they can split it up.
Flashback: RUTH cares for a SICKLY WOMAN in NYC. The two women look very much alike, but the SICKLY WOMAN is actually the “real Ruth”. REAL RUTH writes a note and hides it.
Later when RICHARD’s gone, a drunk SHERIFF BUD confronts RUTH telling her that NORMAN’S fortune will be split three ways. RUTH and SHERIFF BUD fight while RICHARD watches in the shadows. Just as BUD gets the upper hand, RICHARD kills him. Now united, RUTH and RICHARD wrap BUD’S corpse in a rug and dump him into Crooked Creek.
Later, RUTH builds a bonfire, burning all remaining evidence of the struggle including RICHARD’s and her bloody clothing.
They sleep together. The next morning, RICHARD agrees to stick around and search with RUTH for NORMAN’s fortune. A 50/50 split. Every inch of the farmhouse, the barn, and the granary is ripped apart as they probe for the hidden money.
Tension builds between the two con artists. Accidentally, RICHARD knocks over a freezer in the basement revealing the SICKLY WOMAN’s frozen corpse. Obviously RUTH killed her but explains that the woman was dying and as her nurse, she just “helped her along.”
RICHARD spies a note inside the frozen cadaver’s mouth. It reveals that NORMAN’s fortune rests in his grave.
Rain pours down as RICHARD and RUTH dig up NORMAN’s grave. They find a metal footlocker full of $1000 bills.
Fearing RUTH will leave him empty handed, RICHARD handcuffs himself to RUTH and swallows the key. Enraged, greedy RUTH pulls out BUD’s pistol and kills RICHARD. When RUTH’s efforts prove futile to chop the handcuffs chain apart with a shovel, she uses the shovel’s blade to slit open RICHARD’s stomach. She fishes out the handcuffs’ key, freeing herself.
In pouring rain, on a lonely stretch of highway, RUTH hitches a ride out of town with the money.