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Episode One, Frank Flynn firmly controls gambling in Hot Springs–his position as City Alderman gives him alone the power to grant gambling licenses to the countless businessmen who want to open their own casino, nightclub, or saloon. Meanwhile, years of kickbacks and bribes have given him a longstanding relationship with Garland County Sheriff Nichols and Mayor T.F. Linde. Together they prevent intervention from outside law enforcement and punish Flynn's rivals inside the city while receiving a large cut of the revenue pouring in.


But when Charles Matthews, respected Editor of the Hot Springs Hornet, publishes a story exposing the power of this conspiracy, Flynn's hand is forced: In the teaser sequence of Episode 1, Flynn executes Matthews in the middle of Central Avenue.


After title and credits, we flashback one week earlier: Frank is accepting an award for his work overseeing the Water Works Committee during the recent renovation of Central Ave (the street that houses the majority of the city’s bathhouses, brothels, and saloons), with the Mayor, Sheriff Nichols, and other VIPs in attendance. Charles Matthews and his beautiful daughter Freda “Freedom” Mathews watch from the press section.


After the ceremony, Frank heads to his saloon, The Office, where he discusses new property acquisitions with Sherriff Nichols and meets with club owners from Church Street, also known as Black Broadway. They’ve come to apply for a gambling license. Frank proves his commitment to growing Black Broadway by granting the license, even though it will cause competition with one of his business ventures. Before leaving his Saloon, Frank acknowledges Tom Toler, a wayward police deputy turned degenerate gambler, whose spent all night locked in a card game.


Frank heads to the Arlington Hotel to have lunch with his wife Annie and daughter Sarah––but his daughter is absent and Frank suspects something is wrong. Also at the Arlington are Sam Fordyce and D.C. Rugg, the civic architects of Hot Springs and Frank’s most powerful business associates. The two men join Frank and Annie to discuss future plans. Frank agrees to help Fordyce solve a problem with outlaws that have been harassing travelers on their way to Hot Springs. 


Elsewhere, Attorney General Jack Dorsey is arriving from Little Rock to investigate accusations against Frank and Rugg. At the Quapaw Bathhouse, he is greeted by prominent citizens Bob Williams and Gracie Lane. They’ve uncovered evidence that Frank and his partners have altered the land survey for Rugg’s Arlington Hotel.  They save a substantial amount of money in taxes by claiming the hotel is not on Federal Land. When Dorsey presses them on their motivations, they admit they are both business rivals that Flynn’s crossed in the past. Dorsey takes the evidence and promises to rectify the situation by heading back to Little Rock before the lease becomes official. 


When Dorsey leaves the Quapaw Bathhouse he decides to seek out Frank. He finds him in the Onyx Nightclub on Black Broadway, the most popular black nightclub where Frank is meeting some associates.  Frank offers to put Dorsey up for the night in the Arlington and hands him a generous “campaign contribution” to buy his silence. Dorsey refuses the money and leaves. But Frank-in-turn stalls train services out of Hot Springs, keeping Dorsey from getting back to the capitol.


Gracie Lane then leaks the story to Freedom Matthews, who takes it to her father. They publish an article in the Sunday paper, naming Flynn the leader of “The Arlington Gang”, a group of businessmen including Fordyce and Rugg, who are backed by illegal gambling funds. It exposes the falsified claim that there are no mineral springs on the hotel's site and publishes pictures Freedom had taken of the mineral springs in the Arlington Hotel’s basement. 


As news of the corruption spreads through Hot Springs, Rugg and Fordyce descend on Frank. They threaten to kill Charles Matthews if Frank doesn’t get him to print a retraction. Frank tries to calm the situation, but his own problems are exacerbated by the news that his daughter is pregnant, and planning to move home. In a last ditch effort he meets with Matthews and tries to convince him that a cover-up will benefit Hot Springs in the long run, but Matthews refuses to print a retraction. Frank leaves, unsure of how he’s going to stop the coming violence.


The next morning, Fordyce and Rugg corner Matthews and attempt to beat him into submission. He narrowly escapes, but as he flees up Central Ave, Flynn walks out of The Office Saloon and executes him in cold blood.  Only one witness clearly sees the murder take place; Eli Newton, a young black delivery driver walking home from a late night on Black Broadway.



Episode 2


As it grew into America's first resort town, Spa City had become a safe-haven for black men and women in the South. Service jobs at the fine hotels, bathhouses, and restaurants formed the foundation of a new black middle class, which Flynn supported, and in turn drew political capital from. This was common knowledge in Spa City, and it meant Eli Newton would be forced to decide between telling the truth about who murders his friend's father or testifying against Frank and potentially losing the black communities most powerful ally.


As Eli flees from the scene, on the morning of Matthews’ death, Sheriff Nichols and Police Chief Fitzpatrick are hunting a band of thieves in the nearby town of Malvern. After a chase on horseback through the alleys and streets, notorious outlaw Major A.C. Doran escapes, but not before shooting Fitzpatrick in the chest with a shotgun.


Tom Toler, a Police Deputy is the only lawman left in town with the authority to arrest Flynn.  After a failed first attempt, Tom goes to drink away his sorrows, leading to an altercation with the famous lawman Wyatt Earp. 


Having come close to rock bottom, Toler and his partner Buck Allen (one of the few black officers on the force) gather the gall to arrest Flynn, Colonel Rugg, and Sam Fordyce. But Flynn and his business partners only spend one afternoon in jail. As soon as Sherriff Nichols arrives from Malvern, he takes the three men into his own custody.

In the ensuing trial, Frank will be defended by is his long time friend, and confidante Jackson “J.D” Page (one of America’s first African-American lawyers). Frank has stood trial five times in the past, and each time Page has gotten him acquitted. He’s seen as an intimidating presence in the courtroom and leader of the black community in Hot Springs.


As the trial ramps up, Dorsey appoints himself lead  Prosecutor. To the dismay of Tom Toler, Freedom Matthews, Gracie Lane, and Bob Williams, it appears Dorsey is borderline incompetent and looking for some much-needed publicity. But when Dorsey sees he's outmatched against J.D. he quickly has him disbarred through, citing new Jim Crow legislation. Frank defends himself, and despite Eli’s testimony, he is acquitted of all charges. He was never worried, he had paid off the jury.


As the verdict is read, Flynn's men crash the grand opening of The Palace, Gracie and Bob’s newly built hotel and casino. They destroy the finery inside with axes and chains, before setting the building a blaze.


Watching her late husband's dream go up in flames, Gracie makes a decision: she will give Bob six thousand dollars to hire Major A.C. Doran to battle Flynn’s organization and run her hotels.






Episode 3

Bob Williams travels to Malvern to recruit Major A.C. Doran. Toler is nominated as interim Police Chief. Doran arrives in Hot Springs and ambushes Flynn in the street, shooting him multiple times in the chest. He is presumed dead.





Episode 4

As Frank is carried into The Office, the doctor removes his coat to discover Frank is alive and wearing chain mail. It’s time for war. Frank's faction arms up, contracting several hired guns. Major Doran goes into hiding, as Gracie signs the palace over to Dave Pruitt, in a sign of good faith to Flynn.






Episode 5

Bob Williams announces his candidacy in the upcoming election for Sherriff. Doran secretly re-enters Hot Springs, narrowly avoiding an ambush set by Flynn’s men. He hides out above the Owls Head Saloon and plans retaliation.






Episode 6

The election for Sherriff heats up and will be decided the black vote. Nichols wins narrowly. Doran ambushes the Flynn brothers, as they travel across town in a stagecoach. Jack Flynn is killed instantly. Toler races to the scene, armed with a double-barreled shotgun and commands the firing to stop. In the aftermath, Toler arrests everyone involved, including Doran and his hired guns.




Episode 7

Mayor Linde is tasked with handling a mob, who have gathered in the town square chanting “Hang all gamblers!” Meanwhile, Nichols wants Toler to turn the prisoners over to him, but Toler refuses, worried they will be murdered. Sighting the dysfunction between the Police and Sherriff’s department, Bob Williams calls together the most influential businessmen in Hot Springs to form The Committee of Thirteen. Their first order of business will be to run Flynn’s hired guns out of town.




Episodes 8-12

Nichols refuses to accept the authority of the Committee and takes Flynn’s hired guns under his protection. Riding the wave of public outcry, Bob Williams petitions the Governor to send 100 guns to Hot Springs and recruits a militia of the same size. It will be lead by himself, Coffee Williams, John Loughran and CW Fry. The next day Nichols is found dead in his office. The cause of death appears to be suicide.


In the following chaos, Williams is elected as interim Sherriff. Under Williams, all gamblers are systematically ejected from Hot Spring. Mose Harris follows shortly after writing an article smearing the Committee’s handling of the situation and painting Hot Springs as a lawless city overrun by a violent mob.


To regain order, Flynn has Toler embark on a series of vendetta killings. As trials begin for both Flynn and Doran, Freedom begins to investigate Nichols's murder and discovers that Gracie Lane murdered Nichols.


In a surprise to most, Doran and Flynn are both acquitted of their roles in the violence. However, the tension between the Police Department—now controlled by Flynn—and the Sherriff department—controlled by Bob and Coffee Williams—finally comes to a head, ending with a final shootout in the middle of Central Ave.


Toler is killed in the violence, along with Doran, and Johnny Williams, Bob's only son. Bob Williams arrives on the scene to find his son dead, and Police Detective Jim Hart trying to sort out what happened. Without hesitating, he grabs  Hart by the lapel and fires twice point-blank into his face.


Williams, standing over the man he has just killed, looks up to see Black Jane staring defiantly at him. She raises her dead husband's pistol and pulls the trigger, killing the legendary Bob Williams. 


Flynn is left alive but gravely wounded.  He would die a few days later in his hospital bed, at the hands of Gracie Lane. The murder of Flynn would be brought to light by Freedom Matthews, now editor of the Hot Spring Hornet. 





The roaring 1920’s didn’t have much effect on the then sleepy town of Hot Springs, until New York gangster Owen “Owney” Madden arrived in the Spa.  Owney would forge the largest illegal alcohol distribution network in the country, built on the bones of the Hot Springs’ historic Mountain Valley Water Depot. The lavish speakeasies he funded in Hot Springs attracted a who’s who of times biggest celebrities and musicians, and the Spa was dubbed as neutral territory by gangland luminaries like Al Capone and Frank Costello. The FBI soon followed, establishing an undercover presence that turned the crime world on itself in a dangerous game of cat and mouse–one that would ultimately end with the city drenched in blood.  The crime syndicate’s truce would crumble, and the city would once again fade out of the limelight.













“The Loose Buckle in the Bible Belt.”

“Leo and Verne”

Two young men, who had grown up revering the stories of the Spa’s heyday, would climb to political power in 1960’s on an “open town” policy that sought to bring gambling back to Hot Springs.  Once in office, they would form a new incarnation of organized crime that easily eluded the FBI and local Law Enforcement, even as they brought back prostitution rings, speakeasies, and reopened the historic racetrack.  Leo and Verne seemed to be too big to fail–the only thing that could bring them down would be each other–but they would do just that by falling in love with the same woman. Leo and Verne’s partnership would ultimately implode, and Hot Springs wild flirtation with legalized gambling would end forever.

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