The naked, murdered body of an unknown black man is discovered on
the muddy banks of Beaver Creek by a young mother, Gail, who's
returning from an evening of her affair with Clinton Foster.
Clinton, a government agent who defected from the service to return
to his roots, is foreman on the WEBY/U ranch. W. Ebert Bellwether,
the owner, a rabid Republican billionaire, buys up hundreds of
thousands of acres of open rangeland -- which Clinton believes to
be a tax write-off. With the help of the US Bureau of Land
Management and the administration in Washington, Bellwether
acquires mineral rights on his own land as well as on adjoining
ranches. His secret goal: methane gas. Priceless wilderness areas
will be raped and New Mexico's Coal County's water table reduced to
mud -- a replay of the Jonah Field / Powder River fiasco in
Wyoming. When the truth breaks, Clinton is accused by Gail of
duplicity. The local "godfather," Valentino Peggler -- silent owner
of the bank, radio station, newspaper and most rentals in the town
of Radiant, the seat of Coal County -- finds his fiefdom
threatened. Calling in old debts from his days in organized crime,
he sends a man into Bellwether's fortified mansion outside the
nation's capital. In addition to copying Bellwether's files
pertaining to Coal County, Peggler's agent videotapes W. Ebert, his
wife and a number of Washington's top leaders in group sexual
practices. Peggler keeps the DVD in silence. Gail, unaware of
Valentino's secret knowledge, is horrified at the thought of the
fragile New Mexico landscape being destroyed by coal-bed methane
drilling rigs. Planting seeds of revolution, Gail enlists the help
of Tony Mangino, an old Italian rancher and Valentino's long time
friend. Kate Dawson, a demolition expert during the first Iraqi
war, Desert Storm, joins the ranks. Clinton, furious with himself
for being taken in by Bellwether, finds he's also being tailed by
agents he once worked with. His life, like the life of the murdered
black man, is in imminent danger. He joins Gail's cause. An
old-time range war ensues: western-style shootouts, stampeding
longhorns and exploding coal-bed methane wells all join the montage
of old-fashioned frontier justice, murder and mayhem. At its
conclusion Valentino confronts Bellwether with the DVD: blackmail
works on the high plains of New Mexico as well as in Washington.
The revolution is won on the explosive early morning of the Fourth
of July, 2007.
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