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Murder in Coweta County (1983)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | TV Movie 15 February 1983
In 1948, in rural Georgia, Coweta County is watched over by its legendary, indomitable Sheriff Lamar Potts (Johnny Cash). No felony had ever gone unsolved while Sheriff Potts was in charge.... See full summary »

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Writers:

(teleplay), (book)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Lamar Potts
...
John Wallace
...
J.H. Potts
Ed Van Nuys ...
Huddleston
...
Wilson Turner
Jo Henderson ...
Josephine Wallace
Daniel Keyes ...
Elzie Hancock
Danny Nelson ...
Sheriff Hardy Collier
...
Albert Brooks
...
Robert Lee Gates
...
Mayhayley Lancaster
James Neal ...
A. L. Henson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Steve Smith
Dan Biggers ...
Judge Boykin
Marc Clement ...
J. C. Otwell
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Storyline

In 1948, in rural Georgia, Coweta County is watched over by its legendary, indomitable Sheriff Lamar Potts (Johnny Cash). No felony had ever gone unsolved while Sheriff Potts was in charge. In the next county, though, there is a vast estate known as "The Kingdom." It's ruled by one man, John Wallace (Andy Griffith), whose power is absolute and beyond the law. But when Wallace chases one of his underlings to deliver ruthless punishment, he makes a critical mistake. He crosses over into Coweta County... Sheriff Potts' territory. This is the compelling true story of the man who ran the Kingdom, and the man who brought him down. Written by Dick Atkins

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Bribery. Bloodshed. Now ... Justice.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 February 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Last Blood  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is based on a real incident that happened in 1948, and resulted in the first time in the history of the state of Georgia where a white man was given the death sentence upon the testimony of two black men. See more »

Goofs

Courtroom scenes show Georgia flag incorporating Confederate battle flag. Movie takes place in 1947; this flag wasn't adopted until 1956. See more »

Quotes

J.H. Potts: In 1948 in rural Georgia, there was a vast estate known as "The Kingdom." Ruled by one man, his power was absolute and beyond the law. His family legacy was one of exploitation, corruption and ruthless violence. This is the story of the man who ran the Kingdom. And the man who brought him down.
See more »

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User Reviews

Great true crime story of the late 1940's in which the American justice system triumphed.
7 May 2004 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

As a true crime buff I found this film a profoundly compelling story and one in which, considering the racial attitudes of the place and era, the testimony of two black men actually convicted a white and powerful land baron of murder. One of the two principal characters which are the centerpiece of this film is Andy Griffith who gives an outstanding performance as the self assured and dubious law abiding Christian John Wallace, owner of a great land empire located in Meriwether County of rural Georgia. The other is the late and legendary country western singer Johnny Cash as the fearless incorruptible southern sheriff Lamar Potts with a true craving for the principle of natural justice. When tenant farmer Wilson Turner steals one of Wallace's prized dairy cows the latter, along with three cronies, decide to enact their own justice on the perpetrator. They pursue Turner in a car chase across the county line into neighboring Coweta where Wallace corners Turner at a roadside cafe and viciously and fatally bludgeons him on the head with the butt of a gun. The witnessed crime comes under the jurisdiction of Coweta County sheriff Potts who after intensive investigation arrests Wallace and the others.

In the meantime Wallace with the coerced help of two of his black farm workers have already disposed of Turner's body by burning it and scattering the ashes in a nearby river. Confidently believing he has got away with murder because no body can be found Wallace and his cohorts are sent to trial but Potts and his lawmen have turned up evidence of bone fragments in ash deposits at the crime site and the accused are duly convicted and sentenced. Potts also shows his relentless pursuing of others involved in the crime by arresting Meriwether County Sheriff Hardy Collier as an accessory after the fact. Griffith and Cash couldn't have been more perfect choices for this film in their respective roles. The former, I have always been used to seeing as the smiling friendly character of "The Andy Griffith Show" and many other films, but whose great acting talents in this instance show he can play just as well the evil, corrupt and reprehensible individual at the expense of his popular image. Cash for his part as the slow southern drawl talking lawman demonstrates his capacity as a serious and capable actor in addition to his already established singing talents. I am led to believe he was chosen for this part because he resembled the original Lamar Potts. This is a film which deserves a greater audience than it has got and shows that with truth and honor justice can prevail for all as equals.


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