RED SKY COUNTRY
FEATURE FILM/LIMITED SERIES
Feature Script Available
It is 1933, the middle of the Great Depression. LAWRENCE STEWART is a young, handsome God-fearing man living in Gary, Indiana, with his beautiful wife, HELEN, a place where jobs are scarce and tensions run high.
A local church deacon and member of the Ku Klux Klan, Lawrence is desperate to hold on to what he's got and he believes, like the others, immigrants and minorities are to blame for taking away jobs and privileges that rightfully belong to him.
What Lawrence doesn't believe in is murder, and when he is forced to participate in the ceremonial lynching of a young black man, he wants out. But that's easier said than done. The best thing to do, he figured, is to quietly go where no man would care to follow....to find a place where he could start over, free of the demands for loyalty involving murderous acts that burn into a man's conscience.
Days later, Lawrence and Helen, who has no idea of his association with the KKK, quietly board a train heading west to the desolate and dusty plains of Oklahoma City where skies blaze red from the dirt of dying farms. She would never have to know that he is a coward too afraid to stand up to a pack of angry men and try to save the life of another human being,
As they get off the train, Lawrence can't quite shake the feeling that they are being followed. It is silly to think that anyone would go to such lengths as to follow him all the way from Gary, Indiana, but the notion of it runs cold up his spine, and lingers into the next morning as he prepares himself to go out and look for work.
The limits of Lawrence's tolerance are tested the minute he arrives in Oklahoma City when he is forced to stay at the boarding house run by JUDITH LEVY, a Jewish widow and her young black helper, MATTIE. These women, along with two other boarding house guests...JAMES MITCHELL, a well-dressed, but distinctly effeminate, teacher, and an insolent alcoholic named GERTRUDE whose bullying behavior is inexplicably tolerated ...challenge Lawrence's deeply ingrained biases against people who are different from himself.
As Lawrence heads out in search of work early the next morning, two men appear out of an alley and whisk him away in the back of a car, taking him to a deserted country road where they toss a copy of The Fiery Cross, the national newspaper of the KKK, across the seat. On the cover is a picture of Lawrence and eight other men with the headline, "Deacons Triumph in Gary, Indiana."
DEAN MURPHY is a heavy set, hot-tempered FBI agent working to stop corruption in Oklahoma City. His partner Joe Wilson is a smaller, mousy man with a cool head. With a frightened Lawrence in the back of the car, they have him right where they want him...he will work undercover for them inside the local KKK, or he will go to jail.
In the days that follow, Helen makes her way around town with Judith, keenly aware of the places they cannot go together where signs are posted, "Jews and Coloreds Not Allowed." She meets shopkeeper RUTH ROSENTHAL and discovers she and her husband are victims of local strong-arms trying to force them out, while they steadfastly refuse to sell their store.
Deceit is a cruel master, as Lawrence quickly learns when, in a painful twist of fate, he faces an unexpected test of loyalty by his new fellow Klansmen as he is forced to fire bomb the Rosenthal's store and the home of his beloved Helen's new friends. It is this moment that Lawrence changes from a compulsory "snitch" to a man on a mission who sees the KKK for what they are, a gang of ruthless thugs and killers with whom he regrets ever having been associated.
Lawrence knows it's time for him to come clean with Helen and stop living a double life of deceit, but his plan backfires. Helen, secretly pregnant with their first child, packs her bags and leaves.
With nothing left to lose, Lawrence pushes forward with his investigation uncovering a sinister plot involving local politicians, judges, and police all working together to steal the property of the people they plan to kill or run out of town. But he still needs the proof the FBI needs to bring these men to justice. With the KKK becoming more and more suspicious, Lawrence becomes the hunted and must find a way to protect himself and Helen from men who would stop at nothing to hurt them.
Turning to the only people he can trust, Lawrence finds that the key to his success and ultimate redemption is held in the hands of a group of boarding house misfits...the very people he'd been taught to hate.