RICHLAND

Feature Film/Limited Series

Script and Bible Available Upon Request

JACOB RICHLAND is the 32-year-old prodigal son of CHARLES RICHLAND, Oklahoma City's most prominent and corrupt land developer of the 1930's, forced to return home to work for his father when the Great Depression hits.  Fact is, Jacob comes from a long line of corrupt men that started with his great-grandfather who claimed their wealth of central state property in the land run of 1889.  An original Oklahoma "Sooner," he cheated the other runners by slipping out early and staking out his property a full day before the race began.

Through the years, the Richland's influence took hold as they built shops, warehouses, livery stables, and hotels near the land they gave to the railroad at a below market price. This made the railroad beholden to the family while holding townspeople hostage to high prices for land and businesses near the artery of transportation. The family's shrewd dealing lead to Jacob's life of position and privilege, but he turned a blind eye to his suspicions of corruption, knowing he himself was above such behavior.  Jacob headed east to get a first-rate education at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jacob's newfound socially progressive way of thinking in business was, he believed, the way of the future. He had visited the Jazz Clubs of Harlem, spent evenings with the Fitzgerald's, and dined with Will Rogers.  He had his own dreams and planned to stay east to fulfill them. Black Tuesday changed all that and Jacob found himself back in the center of his father's corrupt world while watching his sweet, unsuspecting Christian mother head up the town's social and temperance leagues.

In Oklahoma City, Jacob found his sole comfort in VERA FIELDS, a widow - both smart and beautiful - a restauranteur, and businesswoman.  Vera is everything the young progressive Jacob admires in a woman, regardless of the fact that she is considerably older than he, and their May/December relationship is absolutely scandalous.   He sees himself marrying Vera, regardless of what anyone thinks.  She, on the other hand, has many reasons why the relationship must be kept secret...reasons Jacob must never know.   

Charles flat out hates what a hoity-toity East Coast education and progressive thinking has done to his son. Tensions run high as Jacob begins to questions his father's way of doing business and all of his corrupt dealings keeping the business afloat while the rest of the world crumbles.   When he finds a second set of books, his suspicions about his father's business are confirmed.   Their relationship grows distant when Charles senses Jacob is nosing around.   

32-year-old D. A. ”JELLY” BRYCE, is the sharpest gun on the Oklahoma City Police Force, maybe even the entire territory.  Jelly has earned himself a big reputation taking on crime running through Route 66 on its way from Chicago to California.  There's even a phenomenon old lawmen start to call, "The Bryce Effect."   In a standoff situation, outlaws suddenly and inexplicably surrender when Bryce, or someone they think is Bryce, shows up on the scene.  Some say it's because Jelly Bryce carries death in his aura, which radiates such profound danger that criminals just know death has arrived and they give up.

Charles Richland isn't the kind of rough-and-tumble outlaw Bryce is used to taking down.  Charles is a mastermind of deceit and manipulation learned from generations of men before him.   Bryce doesn't have the kind of hard, black and white evidence he needs to take down the wealthy head of a founding family.  And playing in the gray area can lose a good man his job.  So, when he is approached by Jacob Richland who is looking for a way to end the corruption, he warns his new friend to get as far away from his father's business as he can.  

It's only been four years since oil was first discovered in Oklahoma City and now there are oil wells everywhere you look, even on the south lawn of the Capitol building.  When Tulsa oil baron, HERMAN WOODWARD, a Choctaw Indian who became rich when he found oil oozing from his family's land on the reservation, decides to open an office in Oklahoma City, Jacob sees his chance for a fresh start.  He trades in his life working for a corrupt land developer to go to work for, what he will soon find out is, a corrupt oil baron.

LETHA WOODWARD, Herman's wife, is white.   Their beautiful daughter MARY is the half-breed product of their marriage.  It is a fact that doesn't escape Mary, who is constantly reminded by society that in spite of her great wealth and education, she is 'less than.' Mary, just a few years younger than Jacob also attended the University of Pennsylvania.    

Jacob Richland is now the link between two of the most powerful and corrupt families in Oklahoma, fully entrenched, as they each do whatever they can to get ahead in a battle to run commerce, politics, and the future of their state.  With nowhere else to go, Jacob turns back to Bryce who seizes the opportunity to finally get all the information he needs about the high-powered under-the-table dealings, crooked politicians, and protections afforded to mobsters using Oklahoma as their hiding place from the law.  At first, Jacob resists the idea of being Bryce's spy - he wants out.  But he and Bryce both know he has nowhere else to go in the middle of The Great Depression, so he decides to play the game in the hope of doing some good and getting justice.

Jacob is his father's son, and he is savvy enough to know that the best way to accomplish his goal is to gain power.  He quickly leverages the family name and powerful relationships with folks like the GAYLORDS, who own the Daily Oklahoman, to influence what gets reported to the community on his way to being elected Mayor of the city. 

As Jacob gains his own power and position, Charles Richland and Herman Woodward, once sworn enemies, find they have something in common...they are losing power while Jacob is gaining it.   They join forces to do whatever they can to try and sabotage Jacob’s efforts at lawful change, while Jacob continues to squash the corruption hurting his town. 

Personally, Jacob is frustrated by the realization that his love affair with Vera, if it were known, could damage his reputation and his mission.  But Vera likes keeping it secret, as she has too many skeletons in her closet that she prefers Jacob never know about. Besides, the covert affair allows her to pass along critical information to Jacob that patrons of her restaurant share when they have their guard down.

AS THE SERIES PROGRESSES...there is a push to merge the Richland and Woodward family businesses to put them in league with the Rockefellers and Carnegie's.  Soon, with their help, Jacob finds himself in a public relationship with the beautiful Mary Woodward. She falls in love with him, but questions his loyalty to her, as she knows there is power to be gained by their marriage. Over time Mary learns of Jacob and Vera's affair, but allows it to continue, just as his father had allowed her mother's affairs, and ultimately uses it to blackmail Jacob for her own gain.  

Jacob uses his political power to move Bryce up through the ranks of the Police Department, as he slowly cleans house.  As they make strides, Bryce serves as Jacob's moral guide when he is tempted by the faster gains they can make through corruption.  After a series of successes in the Police Department, Bryce is recruited by the FBI. He joins their force but remains in Oklahoma City to run the state Field Office. This creates greater opportunities for Jacob and Bryce to clean up Oklahoma City and the State. Another advantage Jacob finds with his new power as Mayor is the opportunity to try out some of his progressive ideas he learned while living in the east during the 20͛s. This puts Jacob in direct conflict with the conservatives in the State as he begins to wonder if he will ever find his own personal happiness while keeping balance, justice and peace in Oklahoma City.