Still lacking a good title I must confess, this story would be set in the late 1890s opening on the Arizona Territory's Grand Canyon and a mining operation there before it was a national park. We open a short distance away from this first bit of scenery where a middle-aged balding man in a disheveled set of dress clothing is riding a horse along one winding road looking in desperate fear for his life and occasionally looking back over his shoulder while spurring the steed to greater speeds. Occasionally we will see a giant shadow from something overhead following at a distance. But then we cut to a buckboard wagon driven by two men in western cowboy or miner's garb with long duster coats and ten gallon hats following from a higher vantage point along the canyon to the rider's route. Eventually they will stop at one point overlooking the first man, uncover the cargo in the wagon under a tarpolin and reveal one futuristic laser cannon. Seeing the large overhead shadow gaining on him and the two men readying their weapon, the rider urges his horse to greater galloping speed, but after a few more tense cuts between him and the other two men, the latter pair fires their weapon and disintegrates rider and horse to ashes. Recovering their weapon and driving off with a quick glance upward and waving to the shadow watching this spectacle. The camera pulls back to reveal the shadow is being cast by a flying saucer spacecraft that suddenly zooms into the sky beyond the audience's view and disappears into outer space. And that's just the opening sequence.
The main story revolves around five different people brought together by an international philanthropic society or organization with its main headquarters and offices in San Francisco in 1895, one among a number of five-member special teams that travel to various parts of North America or around the world to solve mysteries, strange phenomena or mysterious crime sprees for the betterment of mankind. The man vaporized in the opening sequence was an advanced man investigating that secretive mining operation in the Grand Canyon for this organization and awaiting his new team's infiltration into the area for furthering the investigation when he was compromised by a traitor in the organization and forced to flee before being killed. The organization must recruit a new fifth team member, preferable someone young with great leadership potential. They tap one young (one-quarter Cherokee and one-quarter Mexican) Caucasian reporter from a New York tabloid newspaper. The character (don't have a good name yet for any of these characters - the idea is still only partially written out at this point) is a handsome 25-year-old with dark hair and eerie light blue-green eyes who has managed to conceal his non-white heritage to get ahead in the world having an Anglo-Irish surname. Going to the international organization across the country for a feature story, he is recruited into their organization to pursue the tale for his editor, not quite believing it is real despite some strange elements to his own background. Meeting the other four team members, they must embark on a trek to Arizona and finding out what is going on at that strange digging site resembling a precious metals mine. In the end the operation is being run by malevolent extra terrestrials and their human allies seeking an alien artifact that will bring them victory in their war with another extraterrestrial race (the backers of the international organization of the story) and our five characters must thwart the plot with all their skills and resources in the two-hour screenplay.
The other main characters will give this story a multi-cultural flavor, each one being different from each other and the main heroic lead character, to form an ensemble cast that shines through in the pilot story and subsequent episodes if a continuing series. First, the team's one female member is an independent young 23-year-old journalist/author struggling to be taken seriously in a male-dominated world of 1895. She is fiesty and hands-on, but knows how to be feminine when the situation calls for female wiles or charms. The lady also knows how to handle herself in a fight often underestimated by any male opponents with her 5' 2" body. She also is the poet of the group in terms of her soul and view about life. The second team member is a large brawny African-American man (think Ving Rhymes or Michael Clarke Duncan types), a professional blacksmith and gifted mechanic, the child of escaped ex-slaves from Kansas who served in the 10th Cavalry Division for a few years. He is the group's main muscle and best rider often showing his skills and fearful of no white man despite the rising Jim Crow atmosphere of the times. The third member is an Italian immigrant midget who was once a circus performer before joining the organization. He has great disguise skills and can infiltrate different places others cannot go, young enough looking to even pass for a child to the untrained eye. He is the often most underestimated of the team,skilled with most weapons and a ladies man. The final team member is a Chinese born-again Christian man in his early 60s, but would be played by a 20ish Asian actor made up to look older (except in any flashback scenes to his earlier life from the Manchu Dynasty Chinese Empire). A skilled martial artist, this man is also a walking encyclopedia of sorts and the brains of the team, able to converse on most subjects especially Christian scripture and Confuscian philosophy. Adopted by American missionaries as an orphan, he is thoroughly versed in Western culture and endures a certain amount of racism with good humor, as opponents also often underestimate his abilities.
I guess one working title for this idea would be The Misfit Squad, now that I think about it - five people brought together to solve strange cases all the while being manipulated by one side in a covert alien war over the future of humanity, with another subplot to the story being efforts by future humans coming back in time from the mid-21st Century to prevent their time's situation caused by the alien war erupting into the open and causing World War III. I guess from the brief description of the five lead characters and the bare bones story idea it shows borrowing from The Wild, Wild West, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., Legend and even Mission: Impossible in terms of style and form - a story set in the mid-1890s about five people with backgrounds or types that place them on the margins of American society of that time period, but each one highly capable to do the work they engage in travelling to different exotic locations under the direction of a front organization of possibly benevolent (but perhaps shown in later stories to be no better than the enemy aliens) extraterrestrials. It would be a visually beautiful concept with a certain amount of heart and realism, showing technology that is far ahead of its time or this world as some of those Western shows of the past on TV I mentioned above once did.
I wish I knew someone or had connections to the entertainment industry that could see an idea like this one realized, assuming it could come together with the right creative minds behind the camera (that didn't spoil my vision from a dream snippet of some years ago) and the right appealing casting for the five main characters and some supporting characters. Alas, I have only read one book on screenplay format writing (Screenwriting for Dummies) and a few screenplays by other authors, and have yet to attempt writing one of my own. I did write out the opening sequence some years ago just to try it but have yet to continue that project, which is why the opening scene was described with the arresting images of a disintegrator cannon and a UFO in a rural Western frontier setting. In the dream, all the team agents had some article (inscribed interior of a watch, bracelet or necklace, or some other item) with a Latin inscription as the organization they worked for's motto - but not knowing Latin, I'll need to come up with an appropriate philanthropic noble phrase to serve.
Maybe someday I'll get to see all this idea (The Misfit Squad) on the small or even the large screen, but until then perhaps I should just write it out as a new fantasy novel and let a real screenwriter adapt it for another medium afterwards.