Hard Travelin'

Danny Lee Eckard

In the late 1960's, a young (mid-twenties) ex-Marine desert survival instructor on probation was sought in Phoenix on a rape charge trumped-up by his married girlfriend after a dispute over some money she owed him and the black eye he gave her in exchange. What followed was the first of three long searches for him in the burning summer deserts outside of Phoenix, which eventually involved almost all of the various law enforcement agencies in the most intensive manhunts in the history of Arizona to this very day. His two subsequent incredible prison escapes (one of them unaided, from inside the medium security yard at the big house in Florence) became the stuff of media legend and the saga of Danny Lee Eckard has lived on in the Grand Canyon State far beyond the blazing shootout in which he was finally brought down at a horse ranch north of Prescott. In the folksongs and poems written about him, as well as the amazingly sympathetic attitude toward him by the citizenry and even the news media, the memory of "the Desert Fox" still lives on in Arizona, forty years later.

Hard Travelin' is loosely based on the true story of Danny Lee Eckard and is a virtual textbook of escape and evasion techniques by the legendary "Desert Fox," the fabled prison escapee who rewrote the book on how to survive in the overheated deserts of Arizona with entire squadrons of mechanized and mounted forces of the law after him. That Danny Lee survived, remained free, and even triumphed for as long as he did is a tribute to the indomitable spirit of the innocent.

Original screenplay available from Hoodwinks Productions in Los Angeles (310-578-5404) or miles.swarthout@verizon.net

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