The 14th Annual
Screenwriting Awards (FISA)
Winners - Synopsis
Spencer Pool and Stanley Pool
Inspired by true events, our story follows a teenage
socialite from Detroit who ends up risking her life to save the life of a
runaway slave whom she has befriended. Along the way, she falls in love and
finds she has gained a profound respect for her father.
The year is 1856 and the debate over the future of America has permeated the
lives of most of its citizens. Adda along with her sister, Augusta live a
comfortable life in Detroit far from the front lines of slavery. Their father,
Sam Stewart owns a sawmill and is a respected member of the community. When he
attends an abolitionist meeting, their world turns upside down.
Sam decides to join the cause and help the North to secure Kansas as a free
state. The South is not far behind as both sides flood the state with settlers.
Sam sets up a new town and voting district, and then is recruited into the Free
State Militia. After Sam is arrested and imprisoned for fighting with Southern
immigrants, Adda and Augusta take refuge in a boarding house with Miss Van
Curen. They are unaware that she works with the Underground Railroad and her
boarding house is one of many safe houses used to hide runaways as they make
their way north.
The slave owners use bounty hunters to chase down runaways and have them
returned. The best hunter is a man they call Worldly. He is ruthless and has a
reputation for always bringing them back, dead or alive. They also have the
support of the US Army that has a post nearby led by Captain Graton. He is
smitten by Adda, and her attempts to keep him at bay only fuel his desire for
It isn’t long before Adda and Augusta discover a family of runaways hiding in
the cellar. Miss Van Curen has no choice but to involve the sisters. Augusta
follows her father’s lead and eagerly helps. Adda is scared and uncertain
because she knows how dangerous helping runaways can be. After interacting with
the family, Adda befriends the daughter, Mary, who opens Adda’s eyes to the
hardships and unfairness that slavery enables. When Sam returns from prison he’s
surprised but proud that Adda is now fully on board with the cause.
Worldly and his men are hot on the trail of Mary and her family, so they are
forced to hide in the cellar for weeks on end. One night, Worldly’s men come to
the town and begin searching all the cellars and crawl spaces. Adda comes up
with a clever ruse to distract the men and prevent Mary and her family from
being caught. It’s no longer safe and they have to get further north.
Miss Van Curen secures passage for the slaves, but they have to sneak further
west to get clear of anyone looking for them. A rendezvous is set and the
Stewarts set out for Blue River, hiding Mary and her family in their wagon. At a
checkpoint Captain Craton saves the Stewarts wagon from being searched and when
Worldly finds out, he follows after them.
Worldly catches them at the rendezvous point. Sam defends his family and the
runaways as a shootout ensues. Worldly’s men get shot, then Sam gets hit. As he
dies in Augusta’s arms, Worldly rides away with Mary. Captain Graton comes too
late and finds Adda resolved to rescue Mary. He decides to go with her and they
set off after Worldly.
They find Worldly and Captain Graton offers to take Worldly on. Adda watches
from the distance, a rifle pointed at Worldly the whole time. Graton gets the
drop on Worldly and is able to beat him up. Graton turns his back and Adda sees
Worldly reach for a hidden gun in his boot. She shoots him, saving Graton and
Adda and Graton decide to continue west and settle in Colorado. Augusta stays in
the city her father built. Mary makes it north with the hopes of one day being
able to come visit Adda. More than 30,000 Northerners helped secure Kansas as a
free state essentially blocking the South from moving slavery further into the
North and setting the stage for the Civil War.
Copyright 2016 Spencer Pool and Stanley Pool
All Rights Reserved