A Non Fiction drama based on a book written by A.V. Queen and Don Queen
Adapted by Linda Daly and Phil Mathews, PLLC
"In the mid-forties, a steadfast Native American battling tuberculosis moves to Eloy, a hot dusty "Cotton Boom Town” in South Central Arizona that is overrun by unlawfulness and carnage that lives up to its Spanish translation, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
The actual events of Eloy during post-WWII are well documented with original crime photographs, original newspaper articles, notes that A.V. kept in his trusty notebook and the childhood memories of an impressionable young boy who idolized his dad.
Typically, Eloy’s population was 4500, however from September thru January during the cotton picking season the population swelled to around 15,000. Each weekly episode will capture Eloy’s bad-ass reputation by examining documented criminal cases and the memories of a child during his youth.
The season opens in 1941 as A.V. Queen, a Native American and resident for the past two years of the T.B. Santorum in Talihina, Oklahoma is told by his doctor that he needed to be in a dryer climate or die. In a 1939 Chevy, the Queen family of eight, a hired driver, seventeen quilts, and all of their earthly belongings that would fit in the car headed west. The family settled in the small, dusty “Cotton Boom Town” of Eloy.
The family’s fortune changed dramatically after A.V. helped a deputy lock up three very resisting prisoners. A few days later, Chief Deputy, Ed “Tex” Smith, offered him the job of night deputy. For the next four years, A.V. and Ed Smith worked together side by side and became good friends until Ed was assassinated in 1948, resulting in illegal gambling.
Eloy explores the dynamics between a boy and his father as he grows up watching him maneuver the blurred line of what is right and wrong while enforcing the letter of the law in a town still consumed by the spirit of the old west. The son gleans wisdom from his father and peers, his actions, and the lessons that he takes into adulthood. Through the carnage and turmoil that unfolds, local headlines ultimately catch the attention of the Governor, and a state investigation ensues. Once again, the characters adapt like chameleons.
A.V. Queen is a Native American, (Cherokee) who moves to Arizona for its dryer climate in hopes to save himself from the dangerous tuberculosis time bomb flooding his lungs. After three years working on an army base building a bomb shelter, he eventually settles in Eloy with his wife and six children in a one-room, “cotton cabin” furnished only with a single wooden table and four chairs. A single light bulb hung from the ceiling on a wrapped electrical cord and pull chain. Running water is outdoors to the left of the front door which consisted of a faucet.
Don Queen is A.V.’s youngest boy and is telling the story through nostalgic eyes. He benefits from his father’s new role in the town and, thus, takes it upon himself to adopt the role of jailhouse errand boy. He slyly turns a profit by slipping contraband such as cigarettes, small candies, and such to those incarcerated. He tells the story as he watches his dad slowly become one of his greatest heroes and soaked up every drop of wisdom his father lays out for him without fully realizing he’s being prepared for the future with lifelong lessons.