Mississippi Burning takes place in the mid 60’s in the heart of the civil right movement. The film begins with three civil rights activists (two white and one black) traveling at night down a backcountry road. They encounter a car that contains members of the Ku Klux Klan. The car follows them and forces them off the road. The members then kill the activists without a provocation on the part of the activists. FBI agents are then put on the case and travel down to the small town in Mississippi. The two agents have different personalities and ideas of how to solve the case. The lead agent, Willem Dafoe, takes control of the case and calls for more manpower to work on the case despite Gene Hackman’s advice. This fuels a rivalry between the small town people and the Bureau and strengthens the rivalry between the black communities. Members of the KKK and community set fire to the houses and churches of the black people of the town and use physical violence to scare them into not talking to the FBI agents. The extra men brought in (Navy reserve officers) dredge and endlessly search the swamp until the abandoned car of the activists is recovered. The search is continued for the three missing bodies of the young men. While questioning the members of the Klan, the families are also interviewed. While one of the family interviews is taking place, Gene Hackman meets and develops feelings for one of the Klan member’s wives. Throughout the movie Gene continues to visit the woman (Frances McDormand) and they grow closer. As the rivalry grows to an uncontrollable frenzy of destruction, Willem Defoe’s character is forced to use the tactics of Gene Hackman and recruit a small group of Hackman’s friends to bully the truth out of the KKK members. A friend of Hackman’s (A black man) helps scare the kidnapped mayor of the town into revealing the names of the men involved in the murders. The agents use bully tactics to scare the truth out of one of the Klan...
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