Winston Churchill once said something to the effect that Truth, in times of War, is so precious she must be surrounded by a Bodyguard of Lies. There are others who would undoubtedly insist she be wrapped in a Cloak of Invisibilty as well!
Schoolteacher Mollie Stanton (Marian Seldes) believes that once Peace is restored it is time to dismantle the Bodyguard and pull away the Cloak -- regardless of who might be 'offended' by what is revealed. And some of the local residents are mightily offended by her History Curriculum, which mentions depredations committed by regular (and irregular) troops on both sides of the Civil War.
There are strong performances from Jack Albertson as a vacillating shopkeeper reluctant to incur the ire of those determined to keep children studying the recent War from learning about the ruthlessness of the guerrilla raiders it spawned. And from Andrew Duggan, positively shining as a raider victim and Confederate war veteran, reluctant to mount a crusade against the 'Proto-Revisionists' who want the school burned down and Miss Stanton driven out of town. But the real scene stealer is ultimately the shopkeeper's daughter, who demonstrates a courage beyond her tender years.
Great footage here of Paladin interacting with schoolchildren. And also getting whipped to within an inch of his life. But in the words (this time of George Washington), "Truth will ultimately prevail where pains are taken to bring it to light". Having witnessed first hand the reactions to the "My Lai Massacre" photos published by Life Magazine on Dec. 5, 1969, I remain deeply impressed by this episode.
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