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BEAU L'AMOUR'S COMMENTS: Up until the early 2000s I was somewhat active in the Motion Picture and Television industry. Among other things, I struggled to make a number of projects of my father's but was only partly successful. Often disappointed in either the outcome (despite my best efforts) or the process, I ultimately decided to put a greater and greater amount of my time into publishing projects. However, along the way, I found I had created a number of adaptations of my father's material that never even made it onto the desk of an agent or a studio executive.
The Californios is one of those ...
The basic idea was to use Dad's novel as the first segment of a series that eventually unfolded against the backdrop of California history covering Spanish California, Mexican California, the Mexican War of 1846 and the Gold Rush. Immigration from Mexico is always seen as both a blessing and a curse in California so I thought it would be interesting to look at the situation though a group of characters who were both Mexican and Yankee ... except in this case the Yankees were the illegal immigrants.
It was also very interesting to me how similar the Mexican War was to the Iraq War which was being fought even as I was writing this bible. Both were quite unpopular in their time, both were fought with unconventional tactics, and both (in the case of the Mexican War in California) were opposed by something that started as a defense but turned into a rebellion against the invaders. In both cases the two countries ended up wedded to one and other, stuck in a combination of struggle and cooperation that lasts to this day.
What I have posted here is just the cover or "concept" page of an extensive bible, a bible that contained the general arc of the plot, character descriptions, and treatments for episodes. I have limited what can be read because TV companies are often very sensitive to whether or not anyone has seen the material ... they all like to be the first ... and I do hope to sell it someday!
California. Tall mountains and sun swept beaches. A central valley ripe for farming. Dense forests of giant trees. There are growing cities and trade with the Far East, a culture of leisure and refinement, a haven for alternative spirituality. It's a place where fortunes can be won or lost. Style and prestige are everything, who you know is who you are and corruption lurks in the corridors of power.
There is tension on the border. Illegal aliens are challenging the economy, betraying the old values and altering the sense of community. Some are hard working and honorable, trying to make a future for themselves that would have been impossible in their native land. Others are drunken and bigoted troublemakers, criminals, ganging together and on the verge of rebellion.
These foreigners are from the United States . . . and the Mexicans of Alta California want them out.
The year is 1845 and a storm is coming, a war that will tear California apart. The United States of America against the Estados Unidos Mexicanos. Religion against religion, race against race, generation against generation, lover against lover, friend against friend . . . it's an entirely different kind of Civil War.
Louis L'Amour's The Californios follows the fortunes of the Mulkerins, an Irish- Mexican family who must survive the confusion created by the death of their mysterious patriarch, Colonel James Mulkerin, and the oncoming chaos that existed in California before, during and after the Mexican War of 1846-1848.
Presented as a Series or Mini Series, The Californios extends the time frame of Louis L'Amour's novel. Our adaptation would chronicle the end of a timeless and elegant way of life and the creation of a new state in a growing country. Steering a politically even handed course, we would explore a story where cultures dramatically collide but where people of diverse backgrounds and visions for the future must learn to live and work together.
Searching for love, opportunity, revenge, and redemption, the characters of The Californios lead us on a journey both of idealistic hope and Shakespearian tragedy . . . a journey through the juxtapositions that define the essential nature of the Golden State, the tragic search for an Eden on the Pacific and the need for change that is both its constant resurrection . . . and downfall.
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