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John Kent Harrison
In a Dixie small-town, the late sheriff was quite content to preside over a truly segregated community. There the rich brothers, Harlan and Mason Davis, are lords. His successor, Word War II veteran Frank Richards, has a more modern view on justice and equality, which doesn't help his social acceptance anywhere. He also has doubts about the mysterious masked 'peg-leg' to whom all murders where ascribed. Harlan is shot after an african-american boy threats him with a gun to stop his old-fashioned 'liberalities'. Frank and the prosecutor's retired dad, agree to act as defense council, investigate, cued by the boy's Caucasian playmate, Luke Winter, and turn both case and town around. Written by
With all the potent ingredients in this story, including racial conflict in the South just after WWII, this film was sadly bland, tepid, cautious, weak, likely fearful of offending anyone. I assume it was limited by the production company, as a more daring script might not have found a home on the network that ran it. But seriously, given the setting, not a single white person, even the obviously drunk and/or bigoted ones, ever uses the n-word? I dislike that word myself, but pretending that people in that time and place never used it rather hurts the credibility of a period piece. The actors did the best they could with their material, especially Ms Erbe. I'd love to see a more realistic version by either a bolder network or for theatrical release. Alas.
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