Heart Mountain

Institute History

  • 1991 June Screenwriters Lab


Set in the desolate mountains and valleys of Northern Wyoming, HEART MOUNTAIN is the story of the Japanese Americans forced to relocate at the outbreak of the Second World War, and of the ranchers and sheepmen, waitresses and cowboys of Luster, a small town that suddenly finds itself on the outskirts of the third largest city in Wyoming: the Heart Mountain Relocation Camp. Among the Japanese, there is confusion: the first generation immigrants, the Issei, are resigned; their children, the Nisei, raised to embrace their new home, are defiant. The ranchers find that a distant war now shadows their lives.

By design, by accident, the two groups are drawn together. One fact unites them; they have all stayed home from the war: McKay, the young rancher, whose brothers are serving in the Pacific, left to run the ranch with Pinkey, an unsteady, but endearing alcoholic cowboy, and Bobby Korematsu, the family cook of twenty years, who fears for McKay's brothers as well as the long-forgotten relatives that may be at the camp; Kai Nakamura, a graduate student in history reunited with his parents, whose old ways and inability to adapt to new ones enrage him as much as the actions of the American government; and Mariko, a gifted artist who returns from Paris with her husband, a political dissident, to care for her aging grandfather, a Noh mask carver from Kyoto.

HEART MOUNTAIN, above all, is the story of men and women whose lives have been deflected at once by history and by passion and who are caught between freedom and confinement, love and constraint.


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