Montana 1948 Summary

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The story follows the Hayden family and their struggle with loyalty, justice, identity and family. When David's family's Native American housekeeper Marie falls ill, Frank Hayden, the local doctor is called. When Marie refuses medical treatment, David's parents, Gail and Wes, discover that Frank has been preying on the local native American women, raping and molesting them. Wes confronts Frank at a dinner at their father's house. Wes and Gail reach a compromise. When Marie is found dead, Frank convinces the family it is a result of the illness, however David proves (with many reservations) that Frank had murdered her, in order to silence her. Marie's parents choose to have her buried in North Dakota. The family faces much turmoil as Wes attempts to remain loyal to justice and family, but his inability to make a choice leaves him to imprison his brother in the basement. At this stage, David's grandfather intervenes, showing his clear favour for Frank over Wes. He sends men to break Frank out of his jail, however Gail fights to stop them, leaving her deeply traumatized by the experience. That night, the family heard the sound of breaking glass in the basement, but pass it off as caused by the anger of Frank. Next morning, Wes finds Frank dead in the basement, having committed suicide. The family choose to cover up the suicide, in an attempt to save Frank's reputation, however David's grandfather does not forgive Wes, and so Wes, David and Gail are ostracized from the Montana township.
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