The 14th Annual
Screenwriting Awards (FISA)
Winners - Synopsis
One Dead; One Dying
Based on true events.
In Springfield, Missouri, 1931, the Young Brothers, Harry and Jennings, are both
recently released from the Missouri State Penitentiary. Prohibition has created
a booming bootlegging business and the boys intend to work the system to provide
for their family.
When Harry is caught speeding, and moonshine is discovered, the gig is up.
Confronted with the idea of another stint in the Pen, Harry panics and kills the
beat officer who stopped him. Now on the lamb, Harry attempts to reach the only
man who might hear his side – Sheriff Hendrix.
The two do not connect and a state-wide hunt for Harry Young ensues. Tension
builds as time passes with no sight of him.
The Sheriff and his department move their focus to other criminals. But when one
of the Young family members attempts to sell a stolen vehicle, word spreads that
Harry Young may have returned for the holidays. The town is already amped up by
the Sheriff’s successful takedown of the Ash Grove Gang, and the energy is
The Sheriff and team head to the Young farm for a simple look-see. What
transpires shocks the town and the country. The Young brothers (and how many
others?) catch the Sheriff’s team unguarded and gun down six lawmen on the spot.
The Young Brothers flee.
When the dusts clears, the town is without the very team they need to hunt the
boys down. County, State and Federal officers arrive to assist. But it is
Sheriff Hendrix’s wife, Mary, who is legally deemed in charge, as it is
customary for the wife of a fallen Sheriff to fill his station until a new
election is held.
The new Sheriff Hendrix vows to find the Young Brothers and give the town of
Springfield the peace it so desperately needs.
Meanwhile, Harry and Jennings are on the road to Houston. Both determined to
never see the inside of a jail cell again. Harry’s nightmares are gaining
traction and we are privy to one of the reoccurring worst –stripped naked,
hanging from his wrists and whipped within an inch of his life.
Ma Young sends a message to her boys through the press – do not come back to
Springfield. The angry mobs are growing and demanding revenge. The brothers make
a promise to each other – they won’t be taken alive.
Mary and her team get a line on the boys. As the Springfield police surround the
brothers’ bungalow in Houston, another gunfight ensues. This time, Harry and
Jennings see no way out, and point their weapons at each other.
Mary discovers the truth about Harry’s time in prison, and while she cannot
forget, she is able to forgive. She allows the brothers to be buried together,
To this day, no one knows if the brothers acted alone at the farmhouse. Known as
the deadliest single law enforcement gunfight in the 20th century, the Young
Brothers Massacre on January 2nd, 1932 resulted in the death of 6 law
As a result of the event, state and national law enforcement procedures
regarding the capture and approach of known criminals were developed and
Those procedures are still used today.
The Missouri State Penitentiary was once known as “the bloodiest 47 acres in
America”, rumors and claims of unique and brutal torture within its walls
continued to circulate until the prison closed in 2004.