From the studios of Aaron Spelling, this curious made-for-TV movie is set in the small Missouri mining town of Sweetwater during the latter stages of the Civil War.
The town’s able-bodied menfolk are all off in the Confederate army fighting in battles far away, leaving the women of the town – half of whom are the self-righteous wives of the departed men – led by Sarah (Pamela Bellwood) and Gertrude (Jeanette Nolan) – and half of whom are the lusty barroom belles who entertained their menfolk when they were around – to fend for themselves.
The Madam of the local highly-profitable “school of dance” (ahem), Annie McCulloch (Joan Collins from Dynasty), has put her unsuspecting niece Maggie (Priscilla Barnes from Three’s Company) through medical school in Baltimore with money she earned from her house of sensual delight.
Annie – who is dying – now asks Maggie to come and take over from her and be the town’s new doctor.
A vicious ragtag band of renegade Union soldiers – led by Colonel Samuel Isaacs (Howard Duff) – drops into town with less-than-honourable intentions, accompanied by a disabled Confederate doctor (Lee Horsley) and the colonel’s badly wounded son Frank (Donny Osmond, yes . . . *that* Donny Osmond!).
Leaving Frank in town for care, Isaacs and his men lead a raid on a neighbouring community, vowing vengeance on Sweetwater if his son dies.
Believing that the raid is a rehearsal for a full-scale attack on Sweetwater, the women of the town put their differences aside and join forces to plan a surprise reception for the soldiers’ return.
There is a final noisy shootout, and by the time the menfolk of the town return, all of the women of Sweetwater seem resigned to sharing them equally.
Captain John Cain
Colonel Samuel Isaacs
Jerry J. Lewandowsk
Scott Arthur Allen