Cross of Fire (1989) - full transcript

Story of the rise and fall of 1920s' Ku Klux Klan leader D.C. Stephenson.

(MultiCom Jingle)

(dramatic music)

(upbeat big band music)

(horn honking)


- Here you are, ladies.

100% cotton made right here in America.

- Watch it.

Veteran here, veteran.

Are you blind?


Give me a couple a boxes here Fred.

Run them low.


- How many times I gotta tell you

to keep your hands off my merchandise?

Now get.

- Is this is yours?
- Uh-uh.

Didn't mean to knock it
down, just wanted to see it.

I'm sorry, I'm real sorry.

- There's nothing to be sorry about.

How much for the ball?
- Five cents.

- It's yours now.
- Thanks, Mister.

- Gonna be a hot one, huh?

My name is Dave.

David Stephenson, but my
friends call me Steve.

- Fred Love's the name.

If you ain't right about that heat.

I can get you something nice and cold

with a bite if you will mind.

- Well I hope you're
talking about root beer.

- Yeah.

- Stark supporter the Prohibition.

Can't see much use to alcohol except

lending woe and wrecking homes.

- Right enough I guess.

You're new here abouts ain't you?

- I'm from down in Indianapolis.

I'm in the coal business.

- Hey, hey, I'm trying to sell

some pencils here Mr. Fred Love.

You gonna get them or
should I whittle them?

You looking at something?

- Oh no, I'm sorry.

Excuse me, I was...

I was just thinking that
it's a hell of a thing,

a man who wears a silver
star and the only job

he can get is a job selling pencils.

How'd it happen?

- [Man] Artillery barrage, Aragon.

- I was at Bellawood but we never

saw it the way you boys did at Aragon.

- Bellawood?
- Yeah.

Yeah, years and years of war
but we come home to immigrants.

Or immigrants crowding us out of our jobs,

overwhelming our schools
and our elected officials

using public office for private profit.

- What about crime, gangsters

and thugs making a mockery of the law?

- Well that's my point,
that's my point exactly.

I mean doesn't it seem to you folks that,

I don't know, there's
something wrong with America.

The values that we fought and
died for are disappearing.

Disappearing right before our very eyes.

But you know there is a
way to make a difference,

there is something for us to do,

there is something we can all do

to capture the promise of this

great land before it's too late.

- Have any of you ever
met a teacher before?

Do any of you know how to read?

Raise your hand if you do.

Okay, my name is Miss
Oberholtzer and I'm a teacher.

What's your name?

Your first name?

Does anyone know how to spell their name?

Has anyone ever been to a
school, any kind of school?

- [Ronnie] What's school?

- Pardon me?

- What's school?

- A school is a place
where you learn things.

Would you like to learn
how to spell your name?

Hold that black board.

Let's see, we'll hold it right here.

This is the chalk.

Now what's your name?

- Ronnie.
- Ronnie, very name.

We'll start with an R.

O, see that, and here comes an N.

That's how you start Ronnie.

- Ain't gonna do no good.

Ain't got time for school.

We're always moving from
town to town for work.

They just ain't got time for school.

(dramatic music)

- Be realistic, you want them to read,

they don't even know what the alphabet is.

- All these kids need is an opportunity.

They need instruction and books

and materials and that's where I come in.

- Madge, you got a
promotion, I'm happy for you.

But don't think an office at
the Department of Education

and a fancy title are
going to change things.

- R-O-N, R-O-N.

I'm going to school.

- Oh Ronnie that's wonderful, thank you.

I'm gonna miss teaching but I didn't

give it up so I could
have a private office.

I gave it up so I can make a difference.

I mean things are going to change.

- I wish that were true, Madge.

- I'll make it true.

I'm sorry.
- Oh I'm sorry.

Well here let me get it.

- Oh no, no, you were there first.

- No, no, no, I got plenty of work to do.

If you need the text why
don't you just use it

and then when you finish
give it back to me.

- Are you sure?
- Sure, absolutely of course.

I got plenty of work to do.

- Oh well thanks.

Madge Oberholtzer

- Klell, Klell Henry.

Klell, it's a family name.

- So is Oberholtzer.

Thanks again.

Klell, are you an attorney?

- Yes I am, I am.

I'm a assistant prosecutor for the county.

- Oh, good.

Have you heard of the Young
People's Reading Circle?

It's part of the State
Department of Education.

- Sure.

Well, no.

- Well I run it and I'm
trying to develop a program

to provide books for
itinerant farm children.

And I have to be pretty careful to write

something that operates
within state guidelines.

Would you take a look, please?


- Sure, but I practice
criminal law and it's not same.

Are you an attorney?
- Oh no, I'm a teacher.

I was.

- Well, you you've done a fabulous job.

This conforms to all the
requisite manuals I'm aware of.

You might want to present this

to the Ways and Means Subcommittee

instead of going through
the finance people.

Might help you from getting
lost in the shuffle.

- Oh.

County Prosecutor?

I'll remember that, thanks.

The itinerant laborers follow a

pattern moving from farm to farm.

I propose we locate the
textbook distribution

points along primary rural routes.

- Sound expensive, Miss Overholser.

- Sir, if we don't
educate these children now

we will end up supporting them later.

- If it costs money, no way Mr. Kenley

will give her books for Negros.

- Remember what he said
when I asked for a raise?

- Yeah, he said no.


- Excuse me.


A terrible draft from there.

Gentlemen this program will work.

We can give these children a future.

We can give these children hope.

All we have to do is give
them something to read

besides the labels on feed sacks.

- Would you want to personally
oversee this program?

- Yes, I would.

- Well it's a rather lofty
proposal for a young woman.

- Yes well look at the time.

I don't think we've ever
heard a better presentation.

- Thank you.

- Certainly not from a young lady.

- We've never heard a
presentation from a young lady.

(upbeat music)

- [Man] This is a nice crowd.

- I don't see the membership table.

There's no point in
spreading the good word

if we can't sign up the new converts.

- We got it set up at
the back of the park.

We'll begin just as soon
as you start speaking.

- Mike picked up the
new shipment of robes.

We won't get caught short
on the big sizes again.

- Good man, Earl.

Mark up the extra-large another 50 cents.


Met a marine the other day
who left his legs in Aragon.

Now he's selling pencils
because he can't get a good job.

My name is David Stephenson.

My friends call me Steve.

The war this year is over, we're home now.

Now should be a healing time for America.

A time when Americans band together to

help stop the decline
of this great nation.

But instead we've got
Teapot Dome and Al Capone.

We must stop the gangsters, the swindlers

and the robber barons who would

steal our rightful inheritance.


We must up the flood of unwashed masses

that would dilute that
inheritance by sheer numbers.

America is a country built upon

a faith in God and a belief in country.

I obey the law and I
condemn the devil alcohol

because it more than anything else

is destroying the American family.

- Son of a gun, look who's here.


- Don't say son of a gun,
that's a terrible thing

for a very young lady to say.

- Martha, my father.

- How do you do?
- Pleased to meet you.

- We had a lunch date, Daddy, I'm sorry.

- It's alright, gave me a chance to see

your new office, there's still time.

- I can't, I gave my proposal
to Kenley this morning

so I have to be here in case
they have any questions.

- 28 years old and still not married.

A girl as pretty as this.

- Oh Daddy.

- If I was her I'd never get married.

I'd trade in my husband in a second.


- Well can't somebody else take care of

the future of Indiana youths for an hour?

- I can't.

What's going on in the park?

- [Father] Oh another one
of those political things

The Elks or the Masons or
something like that I think.

They're handing out flyers.

- Oh, seems like somebody's
always joining something.

- Yeah.
- I'm sorry about lunch Daddy.

- It's all right.

We'll do it another time.

I know your work is important to you.

- Daddy.
- Really, keep it up.

And I like your new office, Madgie, a lot.

I was 15 years on the job before
I had an office this nice.


- I believe in God.

I believe in God, the
one true Christian God.

I respect womanhood, I
believe in the values

of chastity, decency and
family and so do you.


A lot of people say the Klan are bigots

and dismiss us as such,
it's just not true.

I don't care about the color man's skin

nor do I care about the
nature of his religion

but I do care, I care very
deeply if what that man

chooses to believe has an
impact upon my way of life.


- You only need your
signature, just sign up.

Yes sir, yes sir.

Here just make your X there or sign it up.

Now you can pick up your robe at

the membership table over there.

Thank you sir, thank you.

Like to sign up?

All we need is your signature.

Help bring America back to Americans.

- My signature and 10 of
my hard-earned dollars?

- Seems a small price to pay to help

bring America back to Americans.

- Maybe next time.

Thanks anyway.

- We deserve a better country, gentlemen.

Let me give you one of our newspapers.

You'll be able to read a little bit

more about what we stand for.

Membership information is on the back.

Help bring America back to Americans.

- The Fiery Cross.

- Catchy title. (chuckling)

Hey, Boyd listen to this.

- Oh spare me.


- What on Earth is that?

- Something in the park.

- My lord, you'd think
it's the second coming.


- Are we gonna let the
Rockefellers, the Carnegies

and the DuPonts buy for the few what

is rightfully owned by the many?

- [Crowd] No!

- It was big business
that got us into the war.

We need to hear from the common man.

The decent American man who
sweats for his daily bread.

We need to protect our children

from the crooks at Tammany Hall

and the godless Bolsheviks
which are all around us.

Foreigners take American
jobs and unemployed

American fathers turn to
drink to drown their sorrows.

We need to change all that!

- Yeah.

- We need an organization
that respects what we respect.

We need to unite not just
here in Indianapolis,

but all across the states
from state to state.

We need to unite, unite with
us now all across the nation.

Join the Ku Klux Klan, join with us.

Join the Ku Klux Klan.

Join with us.

(upbeat music)

- Klell.

Hey Klell.

They approved it, Klell.

They're gonna put it on the budget agenda

before the next session
of the legislature.

- Madge, that's great.

- Oh, I owe you once.

- Oh no, don't be silly, you don't owe me.

- Listen, this bigwig's having
a party on Tuesday night.

It's going to be quite a wingding.

He's invited half the City
Hall, would you like to go?

- Madge, I--

- There'll be a lot of people
there from the legislature

and I can talk to them
about my book program.

- I think I'm supposed to ask you.

- Oh, I come on a little
strong sometimes, sorry.

- Oh, I'd love to go.

What time shall I pick you up?

- 7:30 sharp, bye.

(dramatic music)

- Look at this palace.

The guy must have a money machine.

- Play your cards right, maybe you can

wheedle out a campaign contribution.

- Excuse me but I'm gonna have to

ask you to put that away please.

- [Woman] Do you know who my husband is?

- Yes ma'am, state senator Monroe,

but Steve is very strong in his adherence

to the law against alcohol.

Why don't I store it in the
cloakroom for you, Senator?

- [Man] What do you figure
cost through a party like this?

- [Man] A small fortune.

Excuse me.

- Excuse me, may I see your invitation?

- I'm Grady Simms from The Times.

- It's a pleasure, Mr. Simms.

This is a private party and
the press was not invited.

Can I see you to the front door?


- Steve we're so thankful
for the donation that you

approved for the Baptist Hospital.

It will mean the world in new facilities.

- Always glad to help a worthy cause.

The Klan has a Christian heart.

- Do you mean that?

- I mean everything I said.

- Ed Jackson.

I'm running for governor.

I've heard you speak a couple of times

and read the columns you've
written for The Fiery Cross.

We have a great deal in common.

- What do we have in common, sir?

- We're embarrassed that our
last governor was a crook,

we believe in Christianity,
a strong American morality,

we believe in the Prohibition.

- Sounds like a speech
I made last Tuesday.


- Oh, I've never heard
anyone speak the way you do.

(dramatic music)

- I think it's time that you

and I sat down and talked for a bit.

- You're right Ed.

We do have a great deal in common.

Let me see what I can
come up with for you.

Excuse me.

- I'd be happy to send you a
copy of the proposal, Senator.

- Here you go, Madge.
- Thanks.

- I thought you might like
something to eat, too.

- Thanks.

Have you met the senator
and his wife Harriet?

- No.
(dishes rattling)

Pleased to meet you.

- John.

You managed to entrance the most

beautiful women at the party.

Hi, Harriet.

We haven't met, my name
is David Stephenson.

- Madge Oberholtzer.

- [Klell] Klell Henry.

- How do you do?

Welcome to my home.
- Thank you.

- You work in the Department
of Education don't you?

- How do you know that?

- You hear things.

Come together?

- We did.

- You're a lucky man, Klell.

We'll talk again.


- Goodbye.

(dramatic music)

This is gun Klell, I'm glad we came.

- Madge?


Nadge, where have you been?

- Well I've been getting my lunch.

What is going on?

- How can you eat at a time like this?

- What is it, what is it?

Slow down.

What is going on?

Oh who sent these?

- I don't know but they arrived

while you were out stuffing yourself.

- Oh, there must be a card.

- I looked.

- Oh my, come on, there must be.

- Kid, I don't know
what you've been doing,

but you sure had an effect on somebody.


(phone ringing)

- Madge Oberholtzer.
- Hello, Madge.

- Who is this?
- You don't remember my voice?

- No.

- It's Steve.

You've come to my house, you socialize

with my party and now you
can't remember my name?

I'm crushed.

- Did you do this?

You sent the roses?
- Don't you like them?

- No I, well there's just so many.

- May I see you on Thursday night?

- I don't even know you.
- You'll get to know me then.

You sure you like roses?

- Yes I, but no, I mean for Thursday.

- [David] Good great, then we're on.

I'll pick you up Thursday at seven.

- No, I was, yes I was
talking about the roses.

- [David] I thought you didn't like roses.

- Yes I do.

All right, yes for Thursday.

- I wasn't sure you liked roses.

That's why I sent the daisies.

- What daisies?
- Delivery.


(upbeat music)

- I didn't realize you
were such a basketball fan.

- Hey, this is Indiana, it's illegal

not to be a basketball fan.

- Yeah, our cultural heritage, huh?

In a way, yes.

Boy, when I was a kid I could only dream

about a tournament like this.

Uniforms, referees, wood
floors, my goodness.

We used to play on dirt with bare feet

and settle our differences
with a fist fight.

- Were you any good?

- I was a pretty good ballplayer
and a terrible fighter.

- You know this doesn't seem

like a Ku Klux Klan kind of thing.

- Well we don't bring out the tar brushes

and the nooses until after the half match.

You want some popcorn?

- I didn't mean that.

- Well that's alright.

There's a lot of people who still think

of the Klan as bunch of rednecks.

- And that's not true?

- The old leadership is gone, Madge.

It's a new age and Americans need help.

They need help stand up

to the money men and the bootleggers.

It's like your book program.

You believe in your
book program, don't you?

You believe it helps people?

- Yes.

- Well the Klan is my book program.

Not the old Klan, the new Klan, my Klan.

I'm sorry that sending all
those flowers created a problem.

I sent them and I was thinking afterwards

maybe your boss got angry.

- You're sweet.

- I'm smitten.

You're the most beautiful,
most intelligent

woman I've ever met in my life.

- You're making me blush.

(buzzer buzzing)

- [Man] I'm proud to
introduce to you a man

who made this evening possible.

A man who makes me proud to stand up

and say I'm American,
Mr. David Stephenson.


- [Man] Yes sir, yes sir.


- Thank you, thank you,
thank you all very much.

I appreciate it, I do.

I just wanted to step out here before

we start tonight's game and
ask you folks a question.

Don't you think that this is

the most beautiful lady you've ever seen?


- [Pam] Do you have an
appointment to see Mr. Stephenson?

- Tell him it's Hiram Evans.

- And what is the nature
of your visit, Mr. Evans?

- We're from Atlanta, young lady.

Mr. Evans here is the imperial wizard

of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

- Imperial wizard?

- The boss of all the Klan throughout

the entire United States.

- Pam, would you please
send these documents?

- [Pam] Oh Mr. Jeffery these men are--

- Mr. Hiram Evans, sir.

Please come right in.

Gentlemen, step this way please.

After you sir, come right in.

- [Hiram] You've been king
kleagle of the Indiana

klavern for what is it, nine months?

- Yes, sir.

- Nine months son.

Yet you've managed to
quintuple your membership.

No other klavern in America
comes even close to that.

- Well, I was always a
believer in hard work, sir.

- It's not hard work, it's you.

Something about you.

We want you to be membership director

for the entire Midwest.

That's 22 States and
you'll control all of it.

- You'll organize klaverns in each state.

Now you can pick your own
men to serve as kleagles

and you tell them who to
appoint as titans and furies.

- We can make the Ku Klux Klan

the most powerful
political force in America.

- These are chaotic times son.

There's lawlessness and loose morals.

Right here in Indiana your own

governor's being indicted for mail fraud.

No better than Al Capone.

Good people want something
better than that.

They want, they need an organization.

That's the Ku Klux Klan.

And that's you, Steve.

- We've got to do something
before the coloreds,

Catholics and Jews start taking over.

- Hell the Jews, already run Wall Street.

The coloreds are taking our jobs.

Next thing you know the Catholics will

be putting a Pope in the White House.


- If we give you give you these 22 states

can you get the same results
you got here in Indiana?

- Well, yes sir, I believe I can.

(dramatic music)

- Who's out here?

Somebody around the side?

I've got a shotgun in here.

(dog barking)

Read it to me.

- God bless the Ku Klux Klan cares.

(baby crying)

(upbeat music)

- Why, what a coincidence.

I guess the movie people just
happened to be passing by.

- Oh don't be such a cynic George.

You know, Pearl said they started

a milk program down in Bloomington.

(upbeat music)

- And what we need is for
the book distribution sites

to be centrally located
within the local farm area.

- Any of these places that I'm writing

down would be good for you,

but the local council has to prove

anything like this and I'm just not sure.

- Steve.
(horn honking)

- Thought I saw a familiar face.

How you doing?

- Oh, you know, well.

Working on the book program,
fighting the good fight.

- As usual.

How are you today, Mr. Mayor?

- Steve gosh-darn, it's good to see you.

I didn't know you knew my
favorite person in all Indiana.

You should have said so.

We were doing a little business here.

- I hope you are taking good care of her.

- Oh you bet we will.

Now if you see any of
the folks on this list

you tell them I sent you

and you tell them to give me a call.

- Well thank you, Mr. Mayor.

- You take care my friend.
- Nice to see you sir.

David Stephenson, how do you do?

- Not as well as Madge, apparently.

Barbara Evers.

- What are you doing here?

- Well, actually I came to see you.

And if you ladies aren't busy

I have plenty for three.

- A picnic?

- We'd love to.

- Well we were going to
look at school sites.

- We'll all look together.

I hope you don't mind me coming up

here spur-of-the-moment and all.

- Well not as long you have

something cool to drink in there.

- Even better.

Fresh from my own tree picked them myself.

Guaranteed to quench your thirst,

and satisfy your sweet tooth.


- Thank you.

(upbeat music)

(horn honking)

In another mile there
should be a covered bridge.

The mayor said there's
a barn just beyond that.

That would be great
for a temporary school.

- She doesn't always talk about business,

sometimes she actually makes conversation.


- I thought we could picnic there.

- You drove all the way out
here just to have a picnic?

- Barb.

- I would've walked if I had to.

No telling how far I'll
go for a proper date.

(upbeat music)


Look what they've done.

(dramatic music)

- I guess your Klan still
has room for some bigots.

- The maniacs who did
this weren't Klansmen.

They were Night Riders.

People who pretend to be Klansmen.

They pretend to be Klansmen
for their own purposes.

I'm sorry.

Let's go find your barn.

Build you some classrooms.

(dramatic music)

Ed, John, come on inside, come on.

Can I get you boys anything
to eat or something?

- Not a thing Steve, thanks.
- No, thank you.

Steve the house is
gorgeous, just beautiful.

- Now you didn't call a Sunday morning

meeting to tell me that, John.

Come on in and sit down, John.

Can I get you some coffee or something?

- What John wants is
for you to support him

as mayoral candidate here in Indianapolis.

- Now why do you want my support?

- Well, you're a man of influence.

Bright, perceptive, socially active.

- Got a lot of money and I
can turn out the Klan vote.


- You got rid of that Jew in the house,

you got Sam Ralston elected to the Senate.

And I've seen what you've done for Ed.

I want some of that.

- [Man On Radio] Through
God shall we find salvation.

Only through Christ shall we
reach the kingdom of Heaven.

- You know many people are
hearing this right now?

People sit in their houses
and listen to this thing.

If you get on the air you can
get right into a man's home.

Put an ad in the paper, he'll take

you to work with it in the morning.

It's a brand new age, gentlemen.

- [Man On Radio] We need your
support to keep faith alive.

Now more than ever--
- Steve.

- I give you my support, John,
and what will you give me?

- A mayor you can be proud of.

- Mm-hm.

- Well, what do you want?

- Write this down and sign it.

In return for the political
support of DC Stephenson.

In the event that I'm elected
mayor of Indianapolis Indiana

I promise not to appoint any person

member of the Board of Public Works

without their first having the
endorsement of DC Stephenson.

I also promise and agree--
- That's insane.

What if the letter were discovered?

- This would be the only copy of the

letter that exists and I'll have it.

I trust you and I trust Ed.

Do you trust me?


We can go a lot further than mayor.

We can do a lot more good than
you can on your own, John.

Ask Ed.

- All right, can you give it to me again?

- Sure.

In return for the political
endorsement of DC Stephenson

and in the event that I am elected

mayor of Indianapolis Indiana
I promise not to appoint.

Am I going too fast?

- No that's fine.

- [Man] Over 50 letters to the editor

and all from local Klansmen.

- Two years ago there weren't 500 members

of the Klan all over the country.

Now there are almost 200,000
right here in Indiana alone

and we risk alienating those readers

if you continue to attack the Klan.

- I'm trying to inform the readership

Mr. LeBouf, not pander to it.

- The Klan has become a major advertiser

in almost every significant
daily in the state.

We are losing substantial revenue
by not running their copy.

- And we will continue to
lose that revenue as long

as I'm editor-in-chief at The Times.

- Look at this, the Klan writes

these things called Klan komments.

Look they spell comments
with a K so it's cute.

- Let me hear it.

- What is the Klan?

The Klan is organized patriotism,

intensified Americanism
and unified Protestantism.

The mission of the Klan is
to serve and to save America.

I mean these are easy answers
is if you're out of work

and immigrants have all the jobs.

- Nationally the Klan is run
by a man named Hiram Evans,

a dentist originally from Texas.

Locally it's all David Stephenson.

- [Man] I've seen Stephenson
work, he's very good.

- [Man] Well he uses preachers
to warm up the crowds.

- Don't smirk.

Pulpit politicians got
Prohibition ratified.

You take religious fundamentalism
and mix it with politics

and you get a formidable force.

- We have information that suggests

Stephenson is backing
candidates for almost

every elective office,
municipal county and state.

- Hell, they're sending a whole delegation

to the Democratic National Convention.

- The guy is 33 years old,
he is spending a fortune.

Where does he get it?

- Oh, he tells people
he's in the coal business,

but I ran a tax check.

His coal business earns no money.

- Doesn't have to.

People are paying 10 bucks
a head to join the Klan.

Another 10 bucks for robes and hoods.

It's a money machine.

- Dig into it.

I want to stay on top of this, huh?

- Are you going to put my paper
in the hot seat again, Boyd?

- I certainly hope so.

Marge give me the hall of records.

(romantic music)

- I thought you wanted to talk.

- Something like that.

- I think you like the big gesture,

those speeches, the party, the flowers.

- Yes I do.

I'm a man who visualizes things,

picture a better world to live in.

Peace, justice, a woman like
you waiting when I come home.

- My mother warned me about men like you.

- [David] Your mother
never knew a man like me.

- You're right.

- I'm always right.

Ready to dance?

- I might be able to muster a few steps.


- When I'm out here with you
like this I feel wonderful.

- You're making me dizzy.

- Precisely my intention.

- It's after midnight, I
really should get home.

- Say you'll see me again.

- Maybe.

(flames crackling)

- Burn it down.


(suspenseful music)

(whip cracking)

- So, when you gonna marry this guy?

- Marry him?

I've only known him for three weeks.

- Come on, are you telling me
you haven't thought about it?

- Well should i?

I mean I don't know, is
all happening so fast.

I don't know what his intentions are.

- Face it Madge, he's your dream man.

He's smart, sincere, rich.

- Gorgeous.

- Oh.

- You've been reading too
many dime store romances.

- You haven't read a dime
store romance in your life.

- No, maybe I should've.

Then I'd know what to do.

What's that?

- Smoke.

Oh my lord I know those people.

Pull in.

(suspenseful music)

Oh no.


Are your children are alright?

Thank the lord.

- You should not be out here Miss Barbara.

You should all go away before you're seen.

- [Madge] What happened?

- When we went in to
register for the voting.

Some man come by last week said

colored folks better stay
away from the election man.

He said it wasn't none of our affair.

- It was enough of my affair to peel

potatoes in the army for three years.

I got the vote and God in
Heaven I'm going to use it.

- [Barbara] Who did this?

- Somebody must've saw
Royal signing his self up.

- Night Riders.

- What?

- Night Riders, the men who

pretend to be in the Ku Klux Klan.

- Is that what they tell you in the city?

Ain't nobody out here
pretending to be in the Klan.

Who come last night was the real thing.

- They dragged him outside
and they whipped him.

- I knocked a hood off.

And I saw a face.

It was one of the men I've
seen in the Klan parade

and passing out those little
sheets of paper in town.

You don't have to tell me
nothing about the Ku Klux Klan.

I know all I need to know firsthand.

All right, come on.

(dramatic music)

- We now have 320,000 dues paying members

of the Klan here in Indiana.

Almost a million have joined
throughout the Midwest.

And gentlemen our doors are

only open to half the population.

What about the women and children?

Therefore I have established
Junior Klan for the boys,

Triple Klan for the girls,

for the women Queens of the Golden Mask.

How's that sound to you fellas?

- Five bucks for Mom to
join, a dollar for each kid.

- Think of all the robes we'll sell.

- Think of the next generation.

All right you boys I'm
going up to New York City

with Hiram Evans to the
Democratic National Convention.

I don't want you sitting on
your butts while I'm gone.

We're going to be a family in this.

If you need to talk you can come to me.

Just think of me as the old man.

Go ahead, let me hear you say it.

- [Group] The old man.

- [Both] The old man.

- Sounds good.

All right, you can go.

Not you.

When you have money and power
you have enemies, am I right?

We need a security department.

- Maybe we should hire the Pinkertons.

- We need men we can trust.

I've been talking to our
friends in the Statehouse.

We can deputize some people, our people.

- You mean legal deputies
sworn with badges?

- I mean we'll call it

the Horse Thief Detective Association.

I mean it will be like
having our own army.

(knocking on door)

- Steve.

Miss Oberholtzer is here.

- Show her in.

All right you boys can go.

- Thank you.

- Madge, I wasn't supposed to pick you up

for lunch for another hour, was I?

- We won't be going to lunch today Steve.

- [David] Madge, I'm leaving
for New York tonight.

I'll be gone for several weeks,

I want to have lunch with you.

- I met a family, a black family whose

barn was burned last night.

The men who burned their barn wore hoods.

They set fire to a cross in

their front yard, a cross of fire.

Sound familiar?

- [David] Oh my god, Night Riders.

- No the men who did this
were not Night Riders,

whatever that is, they were Klansmen.

- These people pretend to be Klansmen.

- [Madge] A man was whipped Steve.

He saw one of the men doing the whipping.

- It was dark, what could he see?

- He doesn't know his name,
but it was one of your men.

- Madge sometimes in these little towns

there will be a drunk who beats his wife

or a bootlegger who won't stop bootlegging

so the locals do something.

- This man registered to vote.

- Madge, honestly if
these men were Klansmen

and I knew their names I would prosecute

them to the fullest extent of the law.

- My friend won't press
charges, he's afraid.

- I'm sorry Madge, I am, but it's not me,

it's not my Klan that would do this.

- Then go and talk to him and find out

who did this and press charges.

- I can't do that, Madge.

The accused has a right
to confront his accuser.

I wasn't there I can't do that.

- You mean you won't.

- Madge.

Madge, I believe I'm a good man.

I believe the Klan is good.

Don't damn us and don't damn me

on account of a few evil outsiders

Madge don't let this come between us.

I need you, you and I...

You're the best parts of me.

- I need to think.
- Madge.

I don't wanna lose you Madge.

I need you, you know that.

- Please, Steve.

I don't know.

I just don't know anymore.

- [Man] People of New York City,

honorable delegates of this 24th

Democratic National Convention,

one man could lead this party,

one man can refute the influence of our

misguided friends who
call themselves Klansmen.

It is with great pride
that I blink before you our

candidate for the Democratic nominee

for the president of the
United States, Al Smith.

(marching band music)

- [Man On Radio] A fight is breaking

out in the Iowa delegation.

I see another in Colorado.

Ladies and gentlemen, chaos reigns.

This is a race for the nomination
that just might well be

a contest between the Pope
and the Imperial wizard.

So solidly do the Catholic
delegates support Smith

and the Klan sympathizers support McAdoo.

- They want Al Smith.

They won't give up easily without him.

- Well, we're reasonable men.

We'll compromise.

- [Man] Compromise on what,
what exactly have in mind?

- Well, maybe we can go to Smith's people,

get them to see things our way.

- That's not the kind of
compromise we're talking about.

- Gentlemen why compromise?

If we want McAdoo, we should have him.

Get rid of Al Smith in any way we can.

- Gentlemen, this is David Stephenson.

- Nice to meet you, my
friends call me Steve.

- [Man] Son of a gun,
I read about you, sir.

You're all anyone talks about.

They say you just about own Indiana.

- [David] Just about.

- [Man On Radio] On this
fifth day of the convention,

now the longest in the
history of the Democrats,

we have just heard from former

presidential nominee
William Jennings Bryan.

The 87th ballot has just been completed

and it remains a deadlock.

It seems the Ku Klux Klan
will not stop stonewalling.

There is speculation that
this may be the beginning

of the end of the Democratic Party.

Miles White has been on
the convention floor for--

- Hard to believe, huh?
- Miles what is the attitude--

- I mean we'll be lucky if
the party is nominee at all.

- There is great frustration--
- It is hard to believe.

Excuse me.

- [Man On Radio] Are beginning to see

the Klan in a different way.

- Madge.

There was something I want to ask you.

- [Madge] What is it, I'm sorry.

- Well this is a bit awkward
but I just thought...

Well I wondered...

There's this new movie
in town, The White Rose.

Would you--

- At this rate your Mr.
Stephenson will never be home.

- He's not my Mr. Stephenson.

- I guess not until you're
his Mrs. Stephenson.

- It's not a joke, Martha.
- Sorry, I didn't mean--

- I know I just...

Excuse me, I'm sorry.

(dramatic music)


- [Man] Mr. Bryan please
understand it's not our intention.

- We've been at this for six days.

There've been 102 ballots.

You've got to stop tearing
this convention apart.

- The convention is a time
for ironing our differences

and forging a direction for the party.

Isn't that what we're doing?

- Damn it man.

The American people are not
going to elect Bill McAdoo.

- And you sir cannot expect
us to accept Al Smith.

- We can't go on like this.

The American people are going to lose

their faith in a democratic process.

- Withdraw Al Smith.

- My people cannot and
will not accept McAdoo.

- Forget Smith, we forget McAdoo.

Name a compromise nominee.

- John Davis.

- Davis it is.

- That's that.

- That's that for this election.

In '28 there'll be no compromises.

Our convention, our candidate.

(dramatic music)


- [Man] Congratulations.

- [Man] I didn't think
he was going to pick him.

- Yes sir.

Yes sir.

No, no sir, no.

I mean I just don't see how you could

be doing any better with
Spain and that whole mess

especially with the Cuban situation.

Of course, sir.

Yes, sir.

Well, your calls are welcome anytime, sir.


Sorry for the delay, Cal Coolidge.

- President Calvin Coolidge?

- He calls whenever he needs
advice or just to chat.

Had this phone put in special.

Direct line to the White House.

- Do people actually believe that?

- How can I help you today Mr. Gurley?

- Is the Ed Jackson the Ku Klux Klan's

candidate for governor?

- Oh, as far as I know Ed Jackson is the

Republican candidate for governor.

- Come on, Mr. Stephenson.

- Steve, you can call me Steve.

- Steve.

Ed Jackson was gonna be an also-ran.

Then he starts quoting the Klan

and now he's the odds-on favorite.

- Maybe it's a sign that
the people of this state

are ready for some honest government.

- Is it true Jackson stumps
the state in your personal car?

(knocking on door)

- Come in.

- Pardon me, I tried Miss
Oberholtzer's office again.

They still say she's not in.

- Thank you, Pam.

Look if I think that Ed Jackson will

make an honest effective governor

you're darn right I want
to see him get elected.

- Enough to spend over a
$100,000 to see him do it?

- I've never contributed a
cent to Ed Jackson's campaign.

- Well how much has the Ku
Klux Klan contributed then?

- Every nickel that's been
contributed has been a legitimate

contribution to the Republican Party.

- Except for your car

- My car...

My car is a loan to a
personal friend, Mr. Gurley.

Good day.

- That's a very nice
painting, Mr. Stephenson.

- Steve.

Call me Steve.

- Listen to this, the Klan was

conceived in secrecy and bigotry

and is dedicated to the principle

that all men are not created equal.

- What's that?

- Boyd Gurley is saying that

Ed Jackson is in the Klan's pocket.

We should vote for McCulloch.

- Oh Boyd Gurley's an old flub a dub.

- What do you think Klell?

Your hear anything about this

down at the prosecutor's office?

- Well I've heard that there may be

some less than above board activities.

Just talk though.

- Oh I'm sure it's talk, that's all it is.

My Luis is thinking of joining.

He says quite a few gentlemen
down at the bank are members

and they're quite above board.

- Madgie, it's for you.

Mr. Stephenson.

(dramatic music)


- Tell him I'm not here.

- She's there.

She's just playing with me.

- [Man] The Times and The Post
Democrat are hitting us hard.

- Use the Cross.

Sells more copies than their rags.

Give it away if you have to.

- They got a hold of our books

showing Ed Jackson is a member.

- Who the hell do they think
reads those rags anyway?

A bunch of Jew lovers and
Catholics, that's who.

I'm trying to destroy the dream.

People are sitting on the fence about us

and we got to make sure
they fall off our way.

- Well maybe if you
made a few more speeches

we might be able to do something about it.

- I'm done making speeches!

(suspenseful music)

(flames whooshing)
(suspenseful music)

- The election is over.

The final count is just in.
- Yeah?

- They won Boyd.

Almost every candidate
Stephenson was backing has won.

They took Senate seats
and governor's chairs in

Colorado, Oregon, Maine,
Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma.

Over a dozen states by last count.

Ed Jackson is our new governor.

(suspenseful music)

- Somebody's gotta stop this guy.

- The Lord is my rock, my
fortress and my deliverer,

my God, my strength and whom I trust.

I call upon you Lord
because I'm so confused.

- Can I pray with you Madge?

We've been talking things
over since you were a child.

- I don't think you can help me this time.

- Such disrespect in this new generation.

I'm a soldier of the Lord Madge.

Let me try.

- I'm sorry I didn't mean to be rude.

It's just that I'm so unhappy.

I'm so confused.

- People gossip.

Is David Stephenson the problem?

- Do you know him?

- Yes, and he's a fine man.

He'll go far in this world.

- Reverend, what do you
think of the Ku Klux Klan?

- The Klan began, Madge,
with good intentions.

It's true it lost its
way for a time, but--

- Do you really think they've changed?

- I look around today
and I see a new Klan.

They support churches and hospitals.

Community chests and youth programs.

- And whip Negroes who
had registered to vote

and use the cross as an image of hate.

- Madge.

David Stephenson is a good man
trying to do the Lord's work.

I can tell you from personal experience

that's not an easy job these days.

- I know, Reverend.

- Madgie, the Klan is bringing
people back to church.

And in this age of godless socialism

that's good for our country.

- I wish I could believe that.

- You don't have to save up problems

before you come and see me.

And tell your parents I
said that too, all right?

- I will.

- Good, good.

- Each and every one of you is aware of

the conservative nature
of the recent elections.

The legislature has interpreted those

results as a mandate for action.

- Sounds to me like we're getting the ax.

(angry chattering)

- [Harvey] Nobody is getting the ax.

There have been certain bills introduced

that may eliminate many of the programs

that we're asking for
in the upcoming budget.

- [Man] Well that's the same thing Harvey.

- [Harvey] The following are
the programs being targeted.

The Farmers Supplementary Fund,

the Interstate Roadway Development Study,

the Young People's Reading Circle,

the HKVF, the Great Lake
Shoreline Preservation Program.

- We now have five million
dues paying members.

That's nearly 10% of registered voters

committed working for our cause.

You've done a good job.

Now I want you to have a reward.

The ultimate reward.

- And what would that be
Hiram, life everlasting?

- I've decided to crown you as

the Grand Dragon of the realm of Indiana.

- Grand dragon?
- That's right.

- Pouting isn't gonna do any good.

- I'm not pouting.

- It's the reality of a
new administration, honey.

- It's not just my program,
they're cutting everywhere.

I mean no one thinks if I do this

a child's going to go to bed hungry

or if I do this a child
won't learn how to read.

- [Woman] Madge.

- Hello, Madge.

- Dad, this is Mr. Stephenson.

- Honored to meet you, sir.

- I'm sure.

I'll be in the house honey.

(dramatic music)

- Your father loves you very much.

You're lucky.

- Yes, I am.

- My parents, well I haven't heard

from my parents in a long time.

Will you take a ride with me?

- I have to rake these leaves.

- I want to show you something.


(dramatic music)

- What is this?

- This, this is a crummy building.

Come on.

- Where?

- Inside.

Come on.

- What's this?

- This is what I can do.

This is what the Klan can do.

There are half a million people

in the KKK here in Indiana, Madge.

Some of them, a few are backwards
and mean, not all, not me.

Don't continue to let something

a very few men did keep us apart.

- What about you?

I mean you, not your Klan?

- What about me?

I'm a good man, a caring man, I think.

A man who wants to make
the world a better place.

Same as you do, Madge.

You want to make the world a better place.

You're special, you have a dream.

So do I.

I'm about to go through the
most important event of my life

and I can't think about anything but you.

- The most important event of your life?

- They're gonna crown me Grand Dragon.

You know what that means?

- You turn green and grow scales?


- It means I can do this
all over the country

but I don't want to do
anything without you Madge.

I don't wanna do anything without you.

I miss you.

I want to share things with you.

- It's all so confusing, Steve.

- I've never been touched in
my life the way you touch me.

Don't turn away from me, Madge.

(dramatic music)

(upbeat music)

- Now look at this.

What time is it?
- It's after three.

- The damn thing was
supposed to start at 2:30.

Where is Millencamp?

Where are the photographers?

- They probably got caught in traffic.

I've never seen this many people before.

- Oh Grady how can this
many people be duped?

- I don't know.

Nothing about this guy checks out.

He claims to be a war veteran.

We finally got the reports
back from Washington.

He's never left the country.

- I don't understand it.

- I'm sure he'll be here soon sir.

- He was scheduled to be here
at nine a.m. this morning.

We were.

- Well Steve has a real
feel for the crowd.

Sometimes he likes to be a little late.

- What Steve likes isn't as important

as what I like, Gentry.

These things are run to suit me.

- This is Indiana, sir.

(upbeat music)

- He said it was going to be a picnic.


- Think they're gonna feed us dinner too?

- Of course they will George, won't they?

- Of course.

No thanks.

- You think all these
people are in the Klan?

- Well, I suppose so.

- I gotta tell you, you see a crowd

like this, it's pretty exciting.

I didn't know there were this
many people in all of Indiana.

- Oh Dad.

(airplane roaring)




(airplane whooshing)


- Hey, Steve, Steve.

- Look.

(airplane whooshing)

- Love birds, see?

(upbeat music)

- [Crowd] Steve, Steve, Steve,
Steve, Steve, Steve, Steve.

- Steve, Steve, Steve.

- Steve, Steve, Steve.

(upbeat music)

- My worthy subjects,

imperial wizard, goblin,

exalted cyclops, hydras, furies,

giants, terrors and all citizens
of the invisible empire!


We have been joined
together on this fine day

by an abiding faith in
our American heritage.


We are an army of salvation.

A legion of a Christian soldiers who

have joined in a solemn oath

to protect and defend our Constitution.


We have solemnly sworn
to join our political

and personal fortune to
guarantee America for Americans!


- [Crowd] Steve, Steve,
Steve, Steve, Steve, Steve.


(chattering drown out by cheering)

- What?


I can't hear you.

- [Crowd] Steve, Steve, Steve,
Steve, Steve, Steve, Steve.

Steve, Steve, Steve,
Steve, Steve, Steve, Steve.


I didn't hear you.

- I said I'm gonna be president in 1928

and no one can stop us, no one.

- [Crowd] Steve, Steve, Steve,
Steve, Steve, Steve, Steve.

(romantic music)

- When I'm with you like
this I feel wonderful.

- I think the next step would
be Sunday dinner at my home.

- Oh, the usual ponderous courtship, eh?

What would you say if I asked you

to come with me to Chicago tonight?

- A gentleman wouldn't
ask such a question.

- I'm a dragon.

A grand dragon.

You'll enjoy yourself.

- I wish I could but it's
hard to forget that in

less than a week the legislator's
going to cancel my program

and everything I've worked for
will be swept into oblivion.

Let's not dance anymore.


- Let me ask you, if
you could talk to these

people and tell them why
you think your program

should be maintained, would you?

- I have a few things I could say.

- [David] I can arrange that.

- A meeting with the legislators?

- [David] If you want.

- I want it very much.

- It's yours.

We'll have a dinner party.

I invited certain key legislators

and you can twist their arm.

How about tomorrow night?

- [Madge] Well, fine.

But how can you get these
people together so quickly?

- The advantages of
organization and caring.

- That old boy could shoot the eye

out of a lizard at 100 yards.

- [Man] You know I heard that about him.

- We'll trim the budget
to an acceptable level,

but there will still be a budget.

Many of the social programs

you're talking about will continue.

- The chosen.

- That's right.

The chosen.

We weigh cost and value
and we make a choice.

That's call fiscal responsibility.

- What about the Young
People's Reading Circle?

- That's too early to know.

- You won't pin him down dear.

He has to find out how to think, first.

- [John] Shut up, Harriet.

- Well if Harriet's being
critical the party's a success.

- Excuse me.

- You want a drink?

- No, thank you, I don't drink.

- You will.

- I'm very serious about my program.

I wanted you to know that.

I believe in its value.

- Why tell me?

So maybe I'll nag John into voting for it?

- Yes.

- There isn't a politician
in that room who doesn't

wet his pants from
David Stephenson speaks.

Think about that.

- Yes I do have an
influence with these people.

I contributed to their campaigns,

I promoted them in the Fiery Cross.

I turned out the Klan vote.

- You own them?

- [David] Well I was certainly
do influence them, yes.

- Then influence them.

I wish they would support
it on its own merits

but at least you understand

the importance of the book program.

- Yes.

- You do believe in what
I'm doing, don't you?

- Absolutely, and I'm
willing to do anything

I can to help Madge, but
I need your help too.

I need your attention Madge.

You've been playing me like a champ.

Always there but not quite.

Always just out of reach.

- Have you been drinking?

- You know I don't drink, Madge.

- I can smell it.

- I'm tired of playing, Madge.

Come upstairs with me now.

- I don't think we should
continue this conversation.

- Madge we deserve each other.

- We deserve to wait Steve.

- We've waited long enough.

(slap thwacking)

(dramatic music)

I said I wanted green mints.

If I want an orange mint, a
red mint, I'll ask for them!

Now maybe you know what kind
of mints the old man likes!

- Is he drunk again?

- Can't you hear him?

- I got that--
- Steve.

- I got that gun.

(shouting nonsensically)

- Get his arms, get his arms.

(shouting nonsensically)

- Get him tight, get him.

(shouting nonsensically)


I want you to take him home.

Make him rest, make him plenty of oranges

and keep the booze away.

(dramatic music)

- [David] Earl.

Pour me a couple of
fingers, will you Earl?

- How are you doing, boss?

- Thirsty.

- Do you want something to eat Steve?

I can get you a couple of eggs.

- That'd be fine Earl, after some whiskey.

- Sure.

- Who am I?

- You're the old man.

- Good, that's good.

Here I am, the old man.

I own the Klan, I own Indiana.

In 1928 I damn well will be

the President of the United States.

Seems that such a man
as that ought to be able

to do just about anything
he wants to do, doesn't it?

- [Earl] Eggs will be ready
in a couple of minutes.

- [David] You'll get my whisky.

- Can I go out and get you a woman, boss?

I can go downtown and
get you a couple women.

- I'm gonna get me a woman Earl.

Don't you worry about that.

(dramatic music)

(phone ringing)

- Oh, I'll get it.

Barbara's supposed to call.


- Hello, Madge.

- You shouldn't have called Steve,

there isn't anything to say.

- No, not about us, no, that's all over.

I'm sorry for the way that I behaved.

I wish that it gone differently,
but that's all over now.

Now there's only business.

- [Madge] What you mean?

- I mean that I need to talk
to you about your book program.

I'd come to you but I'm packing

to leave for Chicago tonight.

So, may I send someone for you?

- What about the program?

- [David] Well the vote is in three days

and if I'm gonna get the bill passed

I'm gonna need to know some facts.

- You're going to support the
Young People's Reading Circle?

- [David] Yes, Madge.

- Without obligation?

- Yes, Madge.

You were right, I was impatient.

But Madge I still believe in you

and I still serve the greater good

and right now I am in
the middle of writing

an editorial in support
of your book program

and I need you to help me finish it.

So come on over and we'll see
that the bill gets passed.

(dramatic music)

- Alright.

- Alright then, I'll see you soon.

(suspenseful music)

- Come this way, please.

- Thank you.

- Miss Oberholtzer.

- Good evening, Madge.

I'm very glad you could make it.

Can I offer you a drink?

- No thank you.

- We don't have much time.

How long do you think it'll take

to explain your program to me?

- I don't know.

An hour and a half, maybe less.

- [David] Hey, I don't know
if we have all that time.

Is the car ready?

- Ready to go.

- Where is everybody?

- I gave the staff the night off, Madge.

Madge here.

I have something here I'd like you to try.

I think you'll love it.

I don't want to drink.
- I insist.

- Maybe my coming here was a bad idea.

We can talk when you get back.

- Nonsense.

Why don't you come with me to Chicago,

you can explain it all in the car?

- I don't want to go Steve.
- Drink this.

- Smells like ether.
- Drink it.

- God, Steve, no, what was that?

Oh god I feel like I'm gonna be me sick.

- Just a little laudanum
to help you to relax.

You're one of the more
tense people I know, Madge.

Now why make the world a better
place if you can't enjoy it?

Put her in the car.

We're all gonna take a little trip.

(train horn blowing)

- [Man] Your attention please.

Now leaving train eight, train 517.

- I've got three tickets for
Chicago, luxury compartment.

- What are you gonna do Steve?

- What's the name of that small town

just before the state line?

- [Man] Hammond.

- You drive up and meet us there.

- No Steve, no.

- See you in Hammond, huh?

Come on, Madge.


(train horn blowing)

Come on, sweetheart.

- What are you doing,
where are you taking me?

- Shut up and stand up straight.

You look like an old drunk, Madge.

- I want to go home.

- Look down here.

Look down here damn it.
- God.

- Now I want you to stop all this nonsense

Madge and get on the train.

I don't want you to look at anybody

and don't talk to anybody.

Now move.
- Please let me go.

- Shoot Madge.

You're about to have
the time of your life.

(train horn blowing)

- Good evening folks, welcome aboard.

Right this way, please.

- We can handle it from here.

- Mitch you get the top bunk.

- Steve.

(train horn blowing)

Steve no.


(train horn blowing)
(train chugging)


(train horn blowing)


Steve no.

(muffled groaning)


God no, it hurts.

- I want it to hurt.

(train horn blowing)

(suspenseful music)

(wind blowing)

Hey, Earl, how are you doing?

You read about these Yankees?


This Murderers' Row is really something.

- What do you want to do about the girl?

What the hell do I care, take her home.

- Take her home?

- Now what's the big deal?

Take her home.

(dramatic music)


Boys get her cleaned up good.


- Steve what if she dies?

She looks like she's gonna die.

- Haven't you figured it out Gentry,

doesn't matter if she dies.

Nothing matters except me.

I'm David Stephenson,
I'm the law in Indiana.

I'm the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan.

There's six million God-fearing

Americans out there who follow me.

I'm on my way to top.

Nothing can stop me.


(dramatic music)

(MultiCom Jingle)