Submitted by Tornado Dragon
At Muff’s trial for Doc’s murder, Tom is called to the witness stand, and he ultimately admits that he saw Injun Joe kill Doc. Joe tries to kill Tom then and there by throwing a knife at him, but his attempt fails, and then he escapes the courtroom and runs off into the woods. Tom is overcome with fear and paranoia over retaliation from Joe, and when Huck secretly visits him in his bedroom that night and scolds him for breaking their blood oath to not squeal on Joe lest they “drop dead and rot”, Tom tells him that he couldn’t just let Muff be executed for something he didn’t do. Huck tells him that he had better not expect him to help prevent Joe from taking him out, then heads back outside, intending to leave the area again. Before he goes, Tom tells him that Muff is his friend, and when a friend is in trouble, you can’t run away.
At a village festival the next day, Tom goes wandering deep into a cave with his crush, Becky, and they become trapped in there when they accidentally cause a cave-in. While searching for another way out, they cross paths with Joe, who is in the cave to reclaim One-Eyed Murrell’s chest of gold coins that he buried there. As they flee from him, Tom randomly finds the gold’s burial spot as well as an exit point nearby, so he sends Becky outside and tells her to find and bring back some help. After digging up the chest, he comes under attack from Joe, but Huck suddenly appears and saves him, having changed his mind about leaving town after what Tom said to him last night. Joe then goes after Huck, but before he can kill him, Tom shows him that he is holding the chest at the edge of a nearby bottomless pit. Joe runs over and struggles with Tom to reclaim it, but in the process, he falls down the pit to his death, taking the chest with him. After Huck remarks that Joe got his treasure, Tom shows him that he dumped all of the coins into the burial spot since the full chest was too heavy to lift. After they collect up all of the gold, Becky returns with a bunch of townsfolk, and they help the boys get outside and cheer them for putting an end to Joe as well as for their newfound wealth.
Tom and Huck become local celebrities, and Huck is soon adopted by Widow Douglas and prepares to lead a more civilized life, with Tom promising to show him the ropes on how to live such a life. However, they immediately begin to think up of a new prank to play on Tom’s aunt Polly, a clear indication that their newly-acquired wealth will not curb their mischievous ways.
Tom (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) and Huck (Brad Renfro) watch Injun Joe (Eric Schweig) and his partner Emmett (Lanny Flaherty) as they find One-Eyed Murrell’s chest full of gold coins under the floor of an abandoned house, and Joe tells Emmett that it would be best for them to hide this loot until after he testifies at Muff’s (Michael McShane) trial and ensures that he takes the blame for Doc’s (William Newman) murder, and he says that they will hide it at “number two under the cross.” He then burns the map to the treasure, destroying the only evidence Tom and Huck could obtain that would prove Muff’s innocence without breaking their blood oath to not squeal on Joe lest they “drop dead and rot.”
The duo returns to Hannibal the next day, but the day after, Tom visits Huck at his hideout in the woods and finds that he is getting ready to leave, and he tells Tom that he just feels the need to drift again. Tom asks him what they are going to do about Muff since his trial is tomorrow, and Huck replies that there is nothing more that they can do for him. Tom tries to keep Huck from going, and this prompts Huck to tell him that he leaves places not because he wants to but because, sooner or later, people find him and run him out. He has grown sick and tired of it, so he is going to leave now while the people of Hannibal are still unaware of his presence. Tom tells him that he thought that they were friends, and Huck replies that he doesn’t have any friends and has no time for them, but if he did have one, he’d want him to be like Tom. Huck then walks off, and moments later, Tom suddenly finds himself standing face-to-face with Joe. Having already learned that Tom witnessed him kill Doc, Joe warns him to keep his mouth shut about it or else he will kill him. He then disappears.
At the trial, Muff’s lawyer calls Tom to the witness stand, but he is hesitant to reveal what he knows, both because of his blood oath with Huck and because Joe is in the room. However, following a combination of a threatening stare from Joe and Schoolmaster Dobbins (Heath Lamberts) saying in an outburst that Tom wouldn’t know the truth if it kicked him in the teeth, Tom shouts that he saw the murder occur and that Joe was the killer. Joe throws a knife at Tom, but he shields himself from it with the courtroom’s Bible, and then Joe escapes through one of the windows and runs off into the woods. Though Tom is praised for his bravery in exposing the real murderer, he is quickly overcome with fear and paranoia over retaliation from Joe.
That night, Joe goes to Emmett’s tavern and finds Emmett getting a bunch of digging tools together, and he accuses him of planning to head to “number two under the cross” and take the treasure all for himself. Emmett tells Joe that he would never cheat him, but then he tries to reach for a handgun behind the bar. Unfortunately for him, he is not quick enough to get a hold of it, which gives Joe enough time to throw a knife into his back and kill him. That same night, Huck pays Tom a surprise visit in his bedroom and scolds him for breaking their oath, but Tom tells him that he couldn’t just keep quiet and let Muff die for a crime he didn’t commit. Huck warns that Joe is going to take him out, and he had better not expect him to help prevent it, prompting Tom to ask Huck why he even bothered to come back, and he replies that he just wanted to tell him to be careful. He then climbs back out the window and starts to leave the property, but Tom gets his attention and tells him that Muff is his friend, and when a friend is in trouble, you can’t run away. Huck silently continues on his way.
At a village festival the next day, all the children go into a nearby cave as night approaches to play some games, and there, Tom meets up with his crush, Becky (Rachael Leigh Cook). They both decide to go wandering further into the cave by themselves, and sometime later, Joe enters the same cave through a separate entrance in order to find and dig up the gold. After the other children of Hannibal exit the cave around the same time, Tom’s aunt Polly (Amy Wright) asks Becky’s father, Judge Thatcher (Charles Rocket), if he has seen Tom, and he remarks that he and Becky were chasing each other around in the back of the cave and he had assumed that they came out with everyone else. Just then, the Sheriff (Andy Stahl) appears before them and tells Thatcher that he found Emmett’s body and that Joe was more than likely responsible for his death, given the knife hole in his back. Huck – having changed his mind and decided to return to town – hears all of this from a hiding spot in the woods and heads into the cave, thinking that Tom might be in danger. Moments later, Tom and Becky start to make loud echoing sounds in the cave for fun, and this attracts Joe’s attention and prompts him to head in the direction that their echoes are coming from.
Tom’s and Becky’s echoes soon cause a cave-in of the tunnel they came through, leaving them no choice but to search for another way out. Unfortunately, they soon cross paths with Joe, and they run like mad away from him. Eventually, Tom and Becky come across the “number two under the cross” location as well as an opening in the wall that leads directly outside, and Tom sends Becky out, instructing her to find her father and bring him here. Tom then digs up the treasure chest and opens it, but Joe suddenly appears and backhands him. He gets a hold of Tom seconds later, but before he can stab him, Huck timely shows up and hits Joe with a jumping kick so hard he almost falls into a nearby bottomless pit. Joe gets up and recognizes Huck as the son of Pap Finn, who taught both him and Huck how to use a knife to deadly effectiveness, and he tells Huck to show him what he’s got. Huck takes a swipe with his own knife, but he misses, and Joe strikes him and prepares to kill him. However, Tom has Joe look his way to show him that he has his chest and is holding it right at the edge of the pit, so Joe rushes over to try to get it from him, and they struggle with it until Joe finds himself hanging off the edge with the chest under his left arm and his right arm grasping Tom’s left wrist and shirt cuff. Huck quickly gets back up and anchors Tom by holding him by his other arm, and shortly afterward, Tom’s whole left shirt sleeve rips off due to Joe’s weight, and Joe falls down the pit to his death.
Tom asks Huck why he came back, and he replies with the same words that Tom told him the previous night. When Huck remarks that Joe got his treasure, Tom shows him that he didn’t; he had dumped all of the coins into the burial spot before he picked up the chest because it was too heavy to lift. They get all the gold together and are helped out of the cave by a search party that Becky brings (with her father, Muff, and Tom’s family among the party members), and Muff leads the group in a cheer for Tom and Huck for bringing an end to Joe as well as for their newfound wealth. Shortly afterward, Widow Douglas (Marian Seldes) stops Huck and asks him what is to become of him and if he has begun to think about his future, and Huck tells her that he hasn’t because he felt he never really had much of a future. She replies that he has one now, so he should start thinking about it.
Tom and Huck become local celebrities, but Tom quickly gets annoyed with both the adulation and living the life of a rich kid and runs off to Huck’s hideout. He arrives there to find Huck all cleaned up and dressed respectably, and he informs Tom that Widow Douglas is going to adopt him and he will be attending church and school like every other kid in Hannibal. In disbelief over this decision, Tom decides to remain in Huck’s hideout and carry on his drifter practices in his stead, and Huck wishes him well before heading off towards town. However, after some thought, Tom changes his mind and catches up with Huck, saying that someone has to look out for him now that he is going to be living among civilized people. They then start to think up of a new prank to play against Polly, a clear indication that their newly-acquired wealth will not curb their mischievous ways.