A Rebel Born (2019) Script

[low string music]

[menacing orchestral music]

[cannons firing]



[quick orchestral music]

[soft peaceful music]


Mr. Madlock, you remember my lovely niece, Mary Ann, just returning home from school.

Good afternoon sir.

Mary Ann, you have grown into a lovely young woman.

Elizabeth, we do have to have Mr. Madlock over for supper sometime.

Absolutely, Sam.

I'd be honored to accept the invitation.

But at the moment I have some business to attend to.

If you'll excuse me.

[Sam] Good day, sir.

Good news, it's twins but Sarah's gonna be fine.

You just make sure she drinks that tea twice a day and gets a lot of rest.

Well I sure appreciate you comin' into town, Mama Thorn.

I was afraid I was gonna lose her.

And I'll send you some ham just as soon as we butcher them hogs.

Nah, you just keep that ham.

You got two more mouths to feed.

You can eat it or sell it.

I can get my own supplies while I'm here.

[insects buzzing]

Thank you.

Must I really endure another evening with one of his friends?

He has your best interest.

But I want to choose my own husband.


You come into town to feed your body?

You need to be coming into church on Sunday to feed your soul.

But the Bible does say, "Remember the Sabbath day, keep it holy."

My church ain't no wooden box.

For I can see the sun rise and set.

And for me every day is holy.



Hey there, mind yourself.

Hey, you stick to your own damn business, kid.

What's the meaning of this, Madlock?

We're here to settle up a debt.

I expect you recollect it.

We paid that debt long ago.

I ain't got no bone to pick with you kid, now stay out of it.

If you know what's good for you, you oughta move along.

[birds singing]

[horse hooves walking]

Nobody going anywhere until your uncle pays up.

What are you, hard of hearing?

[hard punching]


Come on! - Now you're in for it, the both of ya!

[tense music]

Behind a tree, boy!

Elizabeth, you need to take Mary Ann home, immediately.

[leaves rustling]

[menacing music]


[anxious music]

[horses galloping]


[hooves walking]

[insects buzzing]

Why lady, you seem to have gotten yourselves into quite a predicament.

Please sir, we are hopelessly stuck and have endured the situation for far longer than we care to think about.

I strongly urge you to remove yourself from this vicinity with the utmost hilarity or I'll give you a thrashin' you won't soon forget.

[horse galloping]


[birds chirping]

[leaves rustling]


[soft music]

Forrest's the name, ma'am, Nathan Bedford Forrest.

I'm Ms. Montgomery and this is my daughter, Mary Ann.

We are indebted to you for your kindness, sir.

I'm always ready to come to the aid of the fairer sex, ma'am.

I'd be mighty obliged if I could pay you a visit sometime.

Certainly, Mr. Forrest.

My husband, William Montgomery went home to Jesus a few years ago.

You may find us under the governance of my uncle, Reverend Samuel M. Cowan at Horne Lake.

Mary Ann, we must be getting home.

Good day ladies.

He is a fine young man.

Pay him no attention, Mary Ann.

[slow guitar music]


[dark country music]

[door knocking]

It's about time you got here, young man.

How do you know who I am?

[Mama Thorn] I hear stories, sit down.

I've heard a lot of stories about you too.

Some people say you're a miracle worker.

Some say you're a witch.

I wanna know what you do and how you do it.

I'm a healer.

You might call me a root doctor.

But I don't bleed people and I don't cut off limbs.

What I do know is the plants that grow around here, what they do and what I can do with them.

Well how do you know all of this?

From my mama and my grandmama.

Women in my family been healin' for the past thousand years.

And I learn what I can from the Indians and the darkies.

Now all kinds of people come to me with their pains and I give 'em my poultices and potions and they get better.

I just follow the ways of the earth.

Ways of the earth?

What the hell does that mean?

Ways of the earth says, we all got gifts and we should use these gifts to help each other.

Ways of men say some men are better than others

'cause of the color of their hide or that men are better than women.

That ain't right at all and that's why everybody's so damn miserable.

So I follow the ways of the earth.

I got another sort of problem.

I met this girl and she's real pretty and she's real sweet and I wanna marry her.

But her guardian's that hellfire preacher Reverend Samuel.

He don't think much of me.

He don't think much of me either.

To him we're both sinners headed straight for hell.

But I know things that he doesn't.

Like what?

You ever watched the stars at night?

I love to see 'em light up the sky.

All them stars have their place, just like the reverend and those society people.

Once in a great while, there'll be this comet that just comes flashing across the sky, brighter than all of 'em, makin' it's own path.

You are that comet, boy.

You are not gonna stay a poor farmer with dirt under your fingernails.

You're gonna have a fine big house and a business and you're gonna lead men into battle someday.

But I wanna marry Marry Ann now.

Let me tell you something about them Christians.

There ain't nothing they like better than a reformed sinner.

And that, I am.

Forrest is it?

No sir, Nathan Bedford Forrest with two R's.


I'm given to understand that you are here to inquire about marrying my guileless and comely young niece, Mary Ann.

Yes sir I am.

Am I correct to understand that you are here to seek her hand in marriage?

That is correct.

"And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam.

"And he slept.

"And he took one of his ribs

"and closed up the flesh instead thereof.

"And the rib which the Lord God had taken from man, "made he a woman.

"And brought unto her the man.

"And Adam said, 'This is now bone of my bones

"and flesh of my flesh.

"She shall be called woman

"because she was taken out of man.'

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother

"and shall cleave unto his wife.

"And they shall be one flesh."

Do you understand son, the meaning of these scriptures?

Sir, having only six months of proper schooling and not being much familiar with the Good Book, I cannot say.

God is speaking here of the seriousness of holy matrimony.

Do you not comprehend this?

I think I'd be the perfect match for your niece.

I would not even consent to fraternity between you and my Mary Ann, let alone a marriage.

What are you thinking, son?

With all due respect sir, I believe I'd make as good of husband as any for your niece.

But according to your reputation, you're a liar, a braggart, and a drunk.

Miss Mary Ann, she's a Christian girl.

You're absolutely right, sir.

And that's exactly why I intend to marry her.


[bright music]

Mama, everything's going exactly the way I was hoping it would.

You really think you wanna marry that man?

I do.

You remember that conversation we had?

Mama, I'm going to marry Nathan Bedford Forrest.

[bright music]

Much obliged miss.

Abigail, how is your young one?

We sent our doctor over to your house yesterday.

And he said she was recovering rapidly from her fall off the horse.

Ma'am, she was doing poorly but now she's doing much better, thank you ma'am.

Glad to hear that.


Nathan, I am discomfited by all this talk of sectional unease.

What do you suppose it signifies?

Well I guess it all boils down to the money.

We Southerners want to simplify things and the Yankees want to complicate it.

Well how is this tariff war affecting our family business?


It for sure ain't helping.

I'd give a passel of gold nuggets to go to Washington and knock some sense into 'em.

Now darling, we must not let our tempers get the best of us.

Why numination?

Whilst on the topic of your temple, it is my acute desire that you accompany me to church this Sunday.

The parishioners all want to meet you and as I surely am, they are very anxious about your pending salvation.

Well I don't need to listen to that empty-headed holy Joe!

Life is so much better when you're a Christian, darling.

God loves you and desires that you be saved.


While your concern for my eternal soul is right touching there ain't no good gonna come from me reading any book that I don't understand.

I thought God helped those who helped themselves.

That's right, let's just focus on helping our family right now, shall we?

Well I guess there's gonna be arduous times ahead.

And why do you suppose such?

'Cause those damn Yanks can't be educated.

Those know-it-alls think Boston is the hub of the universe.


[booming drums]

Gentlemen, now that Tennessee has enacted secession, there ain't no reason not to join the Confederate Army.

Everyone's secessed these days.

They should be, time for us to get some blue Billys.

So what say you Nathan?

Well we ain't got no choice since Lincoln's invaders has overrun our country.

The war'll be over by Christmas.

One of us Confeds can easily wipe out five Federals.

Nathan, I need a word with you in private.

[insects buzzing]

Nathan, I've known you for a long time.

And I knew your daddy.

He was a good man.

Your daddy left us too soon, I believe it was '37.

He was a good blacksmith wasn't he?

And didn't your mama remarry?

It don't matter, I just want, you know, when you sign this piece of paper now, you are joining up as a private in our army and what means is, you will be going directly into Captain White's Mounted Tennessee Rifles.

Who might this boy be?

That's my boy Willie.

You interested in becoming a Confederate soldier, lad?

I just wanna hunt Federals with my pop.

I hear them Yankees are ugly and they smell like a stable.

I hear they consort with Satan.

Well you are absolutely correct son, I have seen that myself.

Worse than vermin.

Nathan, he's a bit below the legal limit, age.

But I'll twist some arms, make sure we get him in.

[quick marching music]

[cannons firing]

[rifles shooting]


[anxious music]

[war yells]

[grand orchestral music]

[insects buzzing]

Morning, boss.

Morning, men.

As you know I'm a Confederate officer, now.

I have my own fightin' unit.

We heard it's a credit company, sir.

That's right, Ben, it's a cavalry unit.

Any of you gentlemen wanna join up?

Do we get to ride with you, sir?

You bet.

What about weapons, do we get to hold our own guns?

Not only will you get your own weapons, but you'll be drilled just like real soldiers.

Glory be!

Who's ready to fight for God and Jefferson Davis?

What about our freedom sir?

I wanna have a conversation with Apollo.

He will tell you what I have to say about that.

You will be among the finest riders in the South.

We'll all be champions.

And I am proud to have you in my command.


[Apollo] You wish to see me sir?

Yes, I have some good news to share with you Apollo.

Yes sir?

Many of your people has come to me in private to discuss their conditions, talkin' to me about their liberty.

As of today, I'm closing down my slave trading business.

[soft music]

Forgive me, sir.

Am I assuming you're giving us our freedom?

Yes Apollo, y'all are free.

But sir, what about your business and money?

Well I guess the business will absorb the loss.


Praise be.

All who wish to stay here may stay on as laborers.

And all who wish to leave are free to go.

I understand sir.

[soft music]

[cannons firing]

[suspenseful music]

[cannons firing]

[rifles booming]

[quick music]

[rifle fires]



[guns firing]

[anxious music]

[pistols firing]

[rifles blasting]

[quick music]

Well Senator Haynes, it's a pleasure to meet you.

I thank you for coming all the way over here from Tennessee to talk with me.

I sincerely appreciate you taking the time out of your very busy schedule to meet with me.

Now the primary focus of your letter was regarding your concerns about promotion with Nathan Bedford Forrest to the rank of Brigadier General.

Yes, General.

And you have to understand it's with a heavy heart that I'm here today.

Back home, we would like nothing better than you have a bona fide hero from the state of Tennessee.

So you do not approve of his promotion?

I definitely do not.

Do you feel that he's unfit for this position?

I feel he's unfit to serve as an officer of any rank in this confederacy, period.

Well senator, those are some pretty harsh words.

Please explain.

This is not hearsay, this is what I've seen.

I've had the privilege of being at two officers' meetings with this man.

These were round table meetings, looking for strategy and ideas to send those Yankees back where they came from.

Well sometimes those meetings can be productive.

During the meeting, the whole meeting, Forrest sat on his ass in the corner, cross legged, like an Indian.

He didn't say a word, didn't try to contribute anything to the conversation.


Reminds me of my firstborn when he was maybe five years old.

Exactly, totally disrespectful.

He saw no reason to be there.

Okay, what else?

At the second meeting, Forrest brought his private guards with him.

Some officers choose to do that.

General, his private guards were darkies, all black!

They're former slaves of his.

And he's proud of it, he calls them by their first name.

Lord, Lord, that does seem a bit unusual.

The other officers don't wanna work with him.

They understand, there must be some kind of order on the battlefield.

Forrest is nothing more than a guerilla.

Senator, I promise, I will look into this.

What I need for you to do, as soon as you can is provide me with reports from some of the officers present.

Now their conclusions did not have to coincide with yours.

But I'd like the reports to corroborate your findings and what you've told me.

It'll take a little time but I'll get it done.

Senator, I will await your correspondence.

[rising music]

[quick blues music]

[crows cawing]


Here's sage to guard you.

Rosemary for remembrance.

Blessings of the mountains for a safe journey.

Beggin' your pardon, but you ain't gonna need these where you're going.

[mysterious music]

[upbeat music]


What is it?

Lines are broken in three places, we need to evacuate immediately.

I can't move out right now, I got too many men I gotta tend to.

Muster up your walking wounded and bug out.

Let me see if I can get this man to sit up and walk.

You're on your own doc. - All right.

I can't do it doc.

He can walk if he wears these.

And who are you?

I'm Mama Thorn.

Well now, I'll see.

Put 'em on, he'll be able to go.

Tell him to go cut himself a walking stick over there.

There's plenty of dead limbs, don't take from a living tree.

[birds calling]

Get your boots on boy, you can walk.

[birds chirping]

Here, use this.

That's yours anyway.

You get along now.

You tell you officers, when you go through those woods, don't shoot anything you're not gonna eat.

How are you able to do that?

I couldn't make him walk.

That's what I do.

We ain't got no fancy doctors in these parts so I does the healing.

[quick music]

[horses galloping]

[fast country music]

[rifle fires]


[swords clanging]


[fast music]

[leaves rustling]

[fire crackling]

He's gone to meet his maker.

[Mama Thorn] Earth ain't ready for him yet.

There's nothing you can do for him, he's gone.

Maybe not.

Oh yeah, there is something I can do.

[mysterious music]

Hail fire, purest of all elements.

[loud, tuneless chanting]

[faster wailing]

Oh my Lord.

I have never seen anything like that in all my life.

[distant cannons firing]

Yes, Williams?

All present and accounted for, sir Why am I still hearing gunfire somewhere?

Target practice?

No sir, a few skirmishers still causing us a bit of trouble.

Skirmishers, from where?

I don't know, sir, we'll take care of it.

Please do.

[guns firing]

[menacing music]

Yes Williams?

All present and accounted for, sir Just like yesterday, you tell me all present and accounted for yet I'm still hearing gunfire in the distance.

Yes sir, still working on it.

That gunfire kept me awake most of the night!

Likewise, sir.

Williams, we're having a scouting party drop behind us tomorrow.

I want to find out who these troublemakers are.

Do you understand?

Yes sir.

See to it.

[guns firing]

[dark music]

[rifles blasting]

Why am I still hearing this, Williams?

More skirmishers than we thought, sir.

So where are they coming from?

Well, our scouts captured one of them, briefly.

Briefly, why briefly?

I'm afraid the prisoner slipped away, sir.

So Williams, what did this briefly held prisoner have to say?

He was part of a larger group of cavalry, commanded by this General Forrest.

Forrest, Nathan Bedford Forrest!

I don't know for sure, sir.

All right, tomorrow we double time, do you understand, Williams?

We outrun these sons of bitches, do you understand?

Absolutely, sir.

[guns firing]

[anxious music]

[rifles cracking]


Yes sir.

Who the hell is firing that cannon at us?

I think it's still Forrest's men, sir.

How long has this been going on, Williams?

Well over a week, sir.

And where did they get the cannons from?

Must be a very small force that can travel this fast.

I would hope so sir.

So tomorrow we turn about face and strike them at midday!

Stop the advance, sir?

Only briefly.

I want to show this General Forrest who he's dealing with.

[spooky music]

[war yells]

[guns firing]

[Williams] Colonel?

Williams, I am so damn tired of this already!

15 days now, 15 days!

[guns firing]

Why don't they have the courage to fight us like men, they're just wearing us out!

I think that may be the plan, sir.

All right, one more day and we'll be close to Cedar Bluff.

Do we have any idea of this man's fighting force?

Very difficult to say sir.

Then we bring this to an end.

Crush these scurrying bugs like the vermin they are!

[rifles firing]

[rain pattering]

[cannons blaring]

[horses trotting]

[tense music]

[cannons firing]

[war whoops]

[rifles cracking]

[bugle mustering]

[war whoops]

[cannons and rifles blasting]

[anxious music]

[guns crackling]

[gunfire echoing]

[horses galloping]

[guns blaring]

[soldiers yelling]

[guns blasting]

[soft percussion music]

[rain splashing]

Y'all see anything?

No. - No sir.

I know they're still out there.

Glory, when is this rain gonna end?

I hope it never ends, it's in our favor.

It makes everything so slippery.

Yeah, we're used to that, the Yanks are not.

Yeah, I'm sure they're crying about the weather here.

What are we supposed to do with Streight's men?

I need to talk to the Lieutenant and see how much artillery we have left.

How many prisoners do we got?

About 30 right now.

We're about to get a whole lot more.

Look out, the general's got a plan brewing.

Ah, Lieutenant we were just talking about you.

General Hill wants to know how many artillery pieces we have left.

We got maybe two that'll still fire.

How many pieces exactly do we have of artillery that won't fire?

We might have enough pieces to make 10, but it ain't working.

Yankees got most of 'em.

Does most of 'em have the wheels and carriages?

I believe so, I believe we got 10.

So we got two that works and 10 that could roll?

I think with a little bit of work we can manage that.

So what're you thinking General?

Let's make it look like we have a whole more artillery than we really have.

What's the point of that?

Well he took a beating.

I'm gonna ask him to surrender.

You can't be serious, General.

I am serious.

They still got three times the infantry that we have.

He don't know that.

I can't wait to see if this works.

So what do you want me to do exactly?

I want all our artillery in a circle.

What about the camp?

Don't show as much of them but have 'em out there.

How soon can you get this done?

Couple hours.

Get it done as fast as you can.

If you need extra cannons use tree trunks.

Yes sir, I'll try to make that happen.

[horse hooves trotting]

[insects buzzing]

[paper rustling]

"Colonel Streight I must demand an unconditional surrender

"of your force as prisoners of war

"or I shall have every man put to the sword.

"You are aware of the overpowering force

"I have at my command.

"And this demand is made

"to prevent further effusion of blood.

"I am, sir, very respectfully, "your obedient servant, Nathan Bedford Forrest, "Brigadier General of Cavalry, CS Army."

[paper rustling]

Tell General Forrest that I shall meet him here in these woods in five minutes.

Yes, sir.

[anxious music]

[leaves rustling]

General Forrest, I will not surrender unless I know that your force is equal to mine.

[cannons firing]

[insects buzzing]

Great God man, how many guns have you got?

Well that's about 15 I've counted so far.

[paper rustling]

[birds chirping]

Most of 'em are back behind those mounds.

Let's put a nail in it, Colonel.

I got enough manpower to whip you out of your boots.

Looks like a good many of them, sir.

That's what it is.

I tell you what, sir.

I'll allow y'all to keep your sidearms and your baggage.

[paper scratching]

I'll even provide your men with food and water.

[cannons firing]

[heavy breathing]

[insects buzzing]


How could you bamboozle me, Forrest!

You have maybe 400 men, I've got 1700!

I could have easily bested you in a head to head engagement.

Down here we call that mere supposition, sir.

I demand that you return our arms so that we can fight it out to the end.


All is fair in love and war, Colonel.



I was mightily heartened to hear that you received a furlough to visit us back home.

Yes ma'am.

It's been 18 months since my last visit.

Halcyon days.

How's our son Willie?

Oh, he's made a fine, fine Confederate officer.

Just like his father.

Mary Ann, Lincoln's committed so many war crimes we are barely making headway.

I hear his radicals recently suspended Habeas Corpus across the North so they can silence anti-war advocates.

What about that naval blockade.

What else should we expect from a Northern coercionist?

[menacing music]

[rifles firing]

[cannons blasting]

[soldiers yelling]

[guns booming]

[rain sloshing]

That battle shoulda never been fought.

The whole war shoulda never been fought.

Well boys, we wouldn't be in this fix if it hadn't been for old Lincoln.

Don't count a Yankee sir, traitors!

They think they so, what's the word, superior.

That's what they want us to think.

The North's printing lies about us.

There was an article said I use women as shields.

They say I'm beatin' y'all with chains?


Yeah, and I drink my coffee out of Yankee skulls.

Pretty soon they'll be saying I eat babies for breakfast.


Pure bullshit.

You got some moonshine, best moonshine on this side of the Mississippi.

No thanks, my staff does all my drinking for me.


My people ain't gonna never see 40 acres and a mule.

All them riches going up North.

Why they say we fightin' for slavery?

We're not fightin' for slavery.

Look at us, slavery is dead.

Well boys, I guess we'll hit the hay before we get wallpapered.

[military march]

[military drums]

[uneasy music]

[soldiers yelling]

[commanders yelling]

[suspenseful music]

[cannons booming]

[dramatic music]


[commanders yelling]

[rifles cracking]

[cannons firing]

[rapid gunshots]

[soldiers shouting]

[pistol banging]

[cannons thundering]

[artillery blasting]

[quick shooting]

[soldiers yelling]

[cannons and rifles crackling]

[serious music]

[sporadic gunfire]

[insects buzzing]

Well senator, I trust you had a safe, uneventful trip.

It's been nearly two years since our last meeting and I believe I was waiting for some correspondence regarding your position on Nathan Bedford Forrest.

A lot has happened since then.

The officers don't want to go on the record against Forrest.

Have you changed your position regarding Forrest?

I definitely have not.

In the past two years, he has become somewhat of a legend among his troops.

He's dangerous, General.

Dangerous to our government and dangerous to our cause.

Senator, Major General Forrest's last battle,

in Northern Mississippi at Brice's Cross Roads, it's a little town near Baldwin, Mississippi.

I'm familiar with that engagement.

Forrest was confronted by General Samuel Sturgis.

And Sturgis had a command of over 8,300 troops.

Whereas Forrest had 3,500 cavalry.

Sturgis was soundly and decisively defeated at Brice's Cross Roads.

Some people call it the Battle of Gunpoint.

Sturgis retreated back towards Memphis with his troops in total disarray.

Forrest captured 1,600 men and a supply line that we can certainly use.

In fact, people in the area, the locals, call it an old fashioned Mississippi butt whoopin'.

I am not going to decommission Major General Forrest.

In fact, and this comes from the bottom of my heart.

I wish I had a dozen General Forrests.

Maybe we could turn this war around for us and in our favor.

What about our troops, General?

I've got news for ya, they're liable to kill him.

And if they don't, I might do it myself.

Good day!


[rifle cracks]

[grass rustling]


[leaves crunching]

Boy, shhh.

I know you ain't dead yet.

But you better act like you are.

[loud, tuneless wailing]

Missus, who the hell are you?

You just killed my son!

Ma'am, my orders are to remove anyone from this area.

You must leave.

He ain't resisting no more.

Now leave us be!

Ma'am, my orders.

Orders, you just carried out your orders.

Now, a woman has got a right to bury her child.

You, just go on back to your unit.

I'm takin' my boy home.

Yes ma'am.

[creepy blues music]


[loud groan]

Swamp water, dark and deep, all my secrets you will keep.

[small splash]

[insects buzzing]

It's about time you woke up, Stuart.

Is this heaven?

Do I look like an angel?

Not exactly, but this is the best place I've been in a long time.

Where am I?

Who are you?

I'm Mama Thorn and this is my swamp.

Blue coats came through shootin' so I brought you here.

We were scouting, we were gonna ambush 'em.

But they got you first.

Ain't there enough hardship in this world without you menfolk killing and wounding each other?

It's the war.

Rich man's war.

They made you sign up, didn't they?

[Stuart] Yes ma'am.

You're from Columbia.

[Stuart] How did you know?

You scratched it onto your belt buckle.

Have they taken Columbia?

No, but Sherman's coming through here.

I got cousins in Pennsylvania.

They're with Sherman now.

I just don't want to fight anymore.

You don't have to.

When you're ready to travel, head out West.

I know a passage through the mountains.

There's life and freedom out there.

I can't desert the Confederacy.

Do you wanna be shootin' at your cousins?

No ma'am.

You and how many other boys like you carve their name and the name of their hometown on their belt buckle in case they got killed someplace where nobody knew 'em.

I know the South is your home but slavery is the greatest evil on this earth.

It's good that it's over.

But this land can't heal until the fightin's done.

Head out West.

Everybody already thinks you're dead.

And if you go back to that war, you will be.

You can make a good life for your family out there.

Can you, can you get the message to my family?

I'll find a way to let them know.

I sure am hungry.

Is there anything to eat?

One thing I got plenty of is food.

Rest, I'll get you something.

[leaves rustling]

General, I have an important message for you.

Just read it to me.

"This is to inform you that General Robert E. Lee

"has surrendered the Army of Virginia on April 9th.

"Thus ending the War for Southern Independence.

"Please report to the nearest U.S. Army post

"where you and your men will turn in your arms

"and wait further instructions.

"Respectfully, the CS Government."

[birds chirping]

[leaves rustling]

[slow music]

Circle of life, center of grace.

Magic ward, this holy place.

Sky above and earth beneath, bless the dark of night with peace.

By the moon where power dwells those in my care shall be well.

May the waters ever flow, may the healing ever grow.

[air whooshing]

[thunder cracking]

[cannons firing]

♪ You signed up to fight ♪

♪ For the glorious cause ♪

♪ To preserve our rights and our land ♪

♪ They told you this war ♪

♪ Could not last very long ♪

♪ And you marched off so proud and so grand ♪

♪ The South and the North both will suffer ♪

♪ A nation divided can't stand ♪

♪ But you carry our hearts when you enter the fray ♪

♪ And we'll raise a cheer for our brave boys in gray ♪

♪ You gallantly charged into combat ♪

♪ As the minis and cannonballs roared ♪

♪ You met death through smoke and through thunder ♪

♪ Trudging in bloodshed and gore ♪

♪ Some came back in caskets or baskets ♪

♪ Their sweethearts and mothers now mourn ♪

♪ And the battles still rage ♪

♪ And we curse and we pray ♪

♪ Waiting and weeping for our brave boys in gray ♪

♪ Your horse and your comrades sustain you ♪

♪ As you traveled in heat and in snow ♪

♪ Every town every turn can hold danger ♪

♪ When you can't tell the friend from the foe ♪

♪ Our fields are barren ♪

♪ Our harbors are blocked ♪

♪ And we cling to one desperate hope ♪

♪ That this cruel war will end ♪

♪ On some bright blessed day ♪

♪ And we can bring home all our brave boys in gray ♪

[gong chiming]

[slow music]

What about that stretch over there Apollo?

Looks mighty tough, sir.

Ain't much of nothing.



Good afternoon, General, good to see you.

Johnny, this is my wife, Mary Ann.


Mary Ann, this is my old second lieutenant.

Good to see you Johnny, what brings you all the way up here?

There's an organization I'd like to introduce you to.

I might could be interested, what's it called?

It's called the Ku Klux Klan, KKK for short.

What kind of name is that?

Well, it's a nonsense name, really.

Me and the boys came up with it, down in Pulaski, Christmas Eve, '65.

Well what they about, Johnny?

We give assistance to war widows, orphans, and veterans of all races.

Well what you want me to do?

I'd like to introduce you to our leader, George Washington Gordon.

I know Gordon.

We wanna know if we can count on you for your support and leadership.

Well Johnny, I'd be glad to assist you folks any way I can.


May I speak to you Apollo?

Yes sir?

I have some gentlemen stopping by tonight, I'd like for you to meet 'em.

They've been here before.

They're with that group called the Ku Klux Klan.

A while back, I asked them to open up an all-black chapter in Nashville.


Now they been dragging their feet on this but if you join up, it might help.

Uh huh.

I thought you'd be a lot more interested.

Well, I heard about this group, not good things.

Like what?

Like folks getting hurt.

Some gettin' lynched.


How reliable is this information?

My brother, he's seen it, preacher too.

Damn, hopefully it's just a couple bad apples.

Do me a favor, sit in on this meeting.

Might help me figure this out.

Certainly, sir.

[broom brushing]

Abigail, would you mind doing me a favor?

Yes ma'am.

Please inform Mr. Forrest that I am at church for the evening, if he asks.

But Mr. Forrest has guests.

I'm aware of that.

Ma'am, this is a bit unusual.

I do not wish to be in the company of this gentleman, Abigail.

Please inform Mr. Forrest of my whereabouts when he inquires.

Yes ma'am.

[spooky blues music]

[door knocking]

Hey, come on in, Nathan.

My my, it's been a piece.

Mama Thorn.

You here to say hello, or you looking for advice?


Boy, this place ain't changed much in 15 years.

This place ain't changed much in a thousand years.

What's on your mind Nathan?

Well a while back I joined this group, and now they're calling me the leader of this group.

You're talking about the Ku Klux Klan.

I'm familiar with it.

But I think you're more of a figurehead than a leader.

I may be.

Me and a couple of us thought it'd be a good idea open up an all black chapter in Nashville.

That sounds almost progressive.

Yeah, but I don't know.

I really wanted Apollo to be the head of that chapter.

He don't want nothing to do with it.

You can trust Apollo.

You respect his opinion.

Yes I do, he's been a lifelong friend.

The people who started the Klan may have had good intention at first but now, I'm sure Apollo has told you what he's heard.

What I've heard and seen has been terrible.

Nathan, you're a powerful man.

But I also think you're a good man.

You know I was against the war.

But I think you'll go down in history as a great warrior general.

But being in the Klan will ruin your name.

You know what you need to do.

If you can't stop what they're doing, you need to get out as soon as possible.

And you go tell Mary Ann you're ready to get baptized.


[dramatic music]

[quick bluegrass music]

[upbeat folk music]