This screenplay is set in the 1800’s and based in part on the real life story of Joseph Pierce who was sold by his father to an American sea Captain for $6. He was one of only around 30 Chinese Americans who fought in the American civil war. In the fictional narrative he is called “China Joe” and as such he becomes a surgeon’s assistant and participates in the battle of Gettysburg. It is here that he and Dr. Luke La Grande, an Army Surgeon, meet.
They both endure long days in the “Butcher Shop” that is a surgeon’s tent during the height of the battle at Gettysburg. Luke does his best to save life and limb of wounded soldiers crying out in agony due to the shortage of medical supplies, particularly anesthetic, but is overwhelmed by the numbers and severity of the wounds. He and Joe stand ankle deep in blood and guts while cannons and other guns boom all around and wounded men are stacked up as far as the eye can see. One day, they both have had enough and swear to never use guns. Joe informs Luke there is a way called Shaolin Wishu to combat evil without guns and he will show him how to do it if they survive the war.
They survive the war and head West to investigate Joe’s grandfather’s death at the hand of an evil Train Baron in Locke City, a cesspool of viral anti Chinese hatred and discrimination. Here they find the terrible way the Chinese railroad workers are treated and decide this is where to prove the Shaolin Wishu way.
Joe becomes skilled at Wishu, but Luke lags behind so he opts to use a whip to remove guns from gunmen’s hands while Joe kicks some sense into the bad guys’ heads.
They are bound by vows to never use a gun and not kill unless absolutely necessary. This vow is tested many times and causes some tension between Joe and Luke.
The romantic interest is An Onoro, whom Joe left behind in China. Joe has to get enough money to bring her to America, but also has to fight legal road blocks put up to stop Chinese men from importing wives. This leads to a climax on a dock in San Francisco and a confrontation, not only with Tong Gangs, but with evil Brothel owners and Custom House officials as well.
It is an action packed screenplay, but also has intriguing character development and some gripping twists.
I began this screenplay as a bio, but after doing research on the Chinese of the period, was appalled at how they were treated and wondered how best to bring that to everyone’s attention without preaching. So I made Joe, wearing a Red Mask and Cape and Luke wearing “Lash La Rue Chic”, into “The World’s First Action Heroes”- Lash and The Red Avenger. F.D. 8.0 91 pages