BrianRxm Coins in Movies 79/109
Raintree County (1957)
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The 1957 MGM film "Raintree County" is set during the period of the US Civil War.
It was based on best-selling 1948 novel of the same title by Ross Lockridge Jr.
 
The film stars Montgomery Clift as John Shawnessy, an young Indiana man in 1859 who has
had a long-time friendship with a local girl, Nell Gaither (Eva Marie Saint).
 
He is seduced by Susanna Drake (Elizabeth Taylor), a visiting Louisiana woman, who later tells him that
she is pregnant resulting in their marriage. Susanna has some mental problems stemming from her belief
that she is the daughter of her father's black slave mistress.
 
A scene early in the film shows a man pouring out $50 in $10 gold pieces in order to place a bet on
a footrace that John has entered.
Raintree County
1. Title
 
John Shawnessy and Nell Gaither graduate from a small private school in Raintree County, Indiana.
The school is run by Professor Jerusalem Stiles, who knows everything and is very cynical.
The Professor tells his students that somewhere in the county, Johnny Appleseed planted a
Chinese Golden Raintree and encourages his students to look for it.
 
Raintree County
2. John Shawnessy and Nell Gaither
 
The have the same beliefs regarding things.
 
Garwood Jones and Flash Perkins are the town's budding politican and athletic champion.
 
Raintree County
3. Garwood Jones, Flash Perkins, Professor Stiles
 
John is recruited to run a foot race with Flash, who has been unbeaten for several years.
 
Among the watchers is a visitor from Louisiana.
 
Raintree County
4. A visitor from Louisiana
 
Susanna Drake is a distant relative of Garwood, and is a wealthy heiress.
 
The Professor bets that John can beat Flash and pulls out a coin purse.
 
Raintree County
5. The Professor makes a bet
 
He pours $50 in gold into Flash's hand.
 
Raintree County
6. Fifty dollars in gold
 
Apparently gold is not used much there as the locals talk about the unusual money.
The coins look like US five and ten dollar gold pieces.
 
United States Dollar 10 1850
7. United States $10 1850
 
An example of a United States ten dollar gold piece from the period.
 
John wins the race and presented with an award by Susanna.
Later John, Susanna, the Professor, and a girl friend head to a river for a victory picnic.
 
Raintree County
8. After-race picnic
 
The Professor counts his winnings from bets.
 
Raintree County
9. The Professor counts his winnings
 
The Professor talks about winning $250, a large sum in those days.
John and Susanna leave to be alone.
 
Some time later, the Professor has to leave town, and Susanna informs John that she is pregnant.
John and Susanna get married and head to Louisiana for a honeymoon and to visit her relatives.
She is upset at John's anti-slavery politics.
John starts finding out things about Susanna, including that she likes dolls.
 
Raintree County
10. Susanna's dolls on a bed
 
They take a steamboat to New Orleans and attend parties there.
 
Raintree County
11. John and Susanna down South
 
A woman at a party mentions to John that it was odd that Susanna didn't find a husband "down here".
 
Susanna takes John to the remains of her father's plantation to tell him some things.
 
Raintree County
12. At the old plantation
 
Susanna tells John about a fire that occured when she was a child.
Her father, father's wife, and the father's black mistress were killed in the fire,
and Susanna implies that she isn't sure which woman was her mother.
 
They return to Indiana, Susanna has a son, but Susanna is unhappy and takes the boy to Georgia,
where her relatives own a plantation.
 
It is now 1863 and John joins the Union Army.
He meets fellow soldier Flash and then war-correspondent Jerusalem.
 
Raintree County
13. Soldiers Flash and John meet a war correspondent
 
John and Flash fight through several major battles, Chickamauga, Resaca, and arrive in Atlanta with
the Union troops commanded by General Sherman.
 
 
Raintree County
14. Flash and John become "Bummers" or Special Forces
 
John realizes that he is near the Georgia plantation where his son is, and he joins the "bummers",
soldiers which will move independently of units in order to forage throughout the area.
 
John finds the plantation and his son.
 
Raintree County
15. John finds his son
 
John is told by a servant that Susanna is confined in an insane asylum.
He is wounded severely enough in a skirmish that he is discharged from the army and
takes his son back to Indiana.
 
The war ends, John goes to Georgia and finds Susanna in the asylum, and takes her to Indiana,
where she recovers some sanity.
 
Raintree County
16. John and Susanna back home in Indiana
 
Susanna decides to look for the raintree, leaves the house, and is followed by the boy into a swamp.
Searchers find Susanna's body the next day and later John and Nell find the son alive.
 
Raintree County
17. John finds his son and Nell
 
Notes:
 
Cast:
Montgomery Clift as John Wickliff Shawnessy
Elizabeth Taylor as Susanna Drake Shawnessy
Eva Marie Saint as Nell Gaither
Nigel Patrick as Prof. Jerusalem Webster Stiles
 
Director: Edward Dmytryk
Writers: Millard Kaufman, Ross Lockridge Jr. (novel)
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