In the Deep South in the 1930s, a widow and her family try to run their cotton farm with the help of a disparate group of friends.
- Robert Benton
- Robert Benton
- Delphi II Productions
- TriStar Pictures
Set in 1935 Waxahachie, Texas, PLACES IN THE HEART tells a story -- not unlike the familiar story told by the film "It's A Wonderful Life" -- of the delicate balance one life can exert upon so many others. When Sheriff Royce Spalding is accidentally killed by a drunken gunman, his wife, Edna, is suddenly thrust into the role of provider for her two small children, Frank and Possum. Then "Mose," an out-of-work black man begging for every meal in the racist South of the Depression era, happens along with a scheme to plant cotton on her forty acres. It is the only chance Edna has to keep her family together. Meanwhile, Mr. Denby, of the bank which owns the mortgage on the farm, is quick to extend a "hand of charity" to Mrs. Spalding by depositing his blind brother-in-law (Mr. Will) with her for safekeeping. Margaret, Edna's sister and a local "beauty operator," is unable to provide much help; her beauty shop is all that stands between herself, her philandering husband, and a small daughter on one side and poverty on the other. A tornado offers their first challenge. Emerging from the storm cellar, blind Mr. Will asks "How bad is it?" "Well," Mose responds, "everything's a little bent, but it's still here." Next, the bottom falls out of the cotton market and Edna's only chance to make the mortgage payment is that she be first to bring her crop to the cotton mill and claim the $100 first prize for doing so. In her way is the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan which objects to Mose's efforts to best a white man to the prize money. In spite of the church setting of the final scene of the film, it seems karmic in its implications.