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Synopsis of AMISH MEN Screenplay

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Inspired partly by the surprising growth of the Mennonite community in central Texas, AMISH MEN is the story of Cissy Gunderloy, a blonde, high-spirited, failed Kilgore Rangerette who lives with her six-year-old son Petey in a rusted trailer on her wealthy father's turkey farm outside of Concrete, Texas. Cissy becomes convinced that the local Amish community is plotting to steal away her son, and her efforts to protect her household cause a gruesome freak accident that kills her father. This, along with her fear and frustration at the Amish situation, and years of unacknowledged anger at her marginalization, drives her past the edge of sanity. The non-linear screenplay starts late one night with Cissy's final intruder call to 911. No help is forthcoming, so she takes a shotgun and challenges the person she believes to be an Amish man. It's not. It's her father, and her accidental gunshot causes a falling hayloft door to decapitate him.

The actual chronology of the tale begins with golden-girl ex-cheerleader Cissy's secret affair with Crist Yoder, a pious, handsome Amish boy her age whom she meets while home on weekends and holidays from Kilgore College, where she's a featured high-stepper for the Rangerettes. At college, she also has an abusive live-in boyfriend, Mickey, another affair her parents know nothing about. After losing her Rangerette position, flunking classes, and too much drink cause a nervous breakdown and suicide attempt, Cissy discovers she's pregnant. During her abbreviated counseling sessions, Cissy replaces her death wish with a commitment to her baby.

She comes back to live in Gonzales, but her domineering, self-righteous father, furious that Cissy won't reveal the father of her baby or have an abortion, refuses to take her back in. She's banished to the tiny trailer on his smelly turkey farm, where she must support herself and her baby and ignore the stares of the scandalized community. Her romantic hopes are quashed when she also discovers that Crist, contrite, is now married to a young Amish woman, Miriam.

Seven years later, Crist and Miriam, now her neighbors, watch Cissy keenly and with seemingly accusing eyes whenever anything happens to Petey--the common accidents of childhood, his never-ending colds and asthma. Cissy has been trying for six years to be a good mother. Trouble is, she never saw what good parenting skills looked like, what with her sickly, absent mother and her self-made-millionaire father who believed that daughters weren't good for anything but to look pretty and spend money. When Cissy accidentally hurts Petey in a car accident, she begins finding black-iron charms left around her yard. Hex signs appear on her trailer and car, and she sees Miriam performing a peculiar Amish ritual called "powwowing" on Petey one evening. But nobody listens to her claims. Cissy becomes increasingly worried that Crist wants to take "his" son from her. Then her father is killed.

Cissy moves back to the big house to take care of her mother, where she learns from Sheriff Boerne that it was her father who had made sure that the only jobs she ever got kept her poor and outcast all these years. Her mental state declines, and she projects all her anger and guilt onto the Amish. In the final scene, Cissy takes a handgun to shoot the Amish at her father's funeral. Sheriff Boerne hauls her off to a hospital, leaving a sad Crist and Miriam holding Petey's hand.

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