Dicky Pilager (Chris Cooper), son of a powerful U.S. Senator Jud Pilager (Michael Murphy), is running for the office of Colorado governor. As his tenacious campaign manager (Richard Dreyfuss) directs a video ad of Dicky fishing, Dicky hooks a corpse. Chuck suspects the opponents set this up and hires a private investigator, Danny O’Brien (Danny Huston), to solve the mystery. Danny’s investigation uncovers a murder and a real estate development being built on top of a toxic-waste dump, both with ties to the Pilager family. Danny learns more Pilager family secrets when he tracks down Dicky’s sister Maddy (Daryl Hannah), a free-spirited, heavy drinker and drug user with a talent for archery. This independent film’s combination of satire and mystery will appeal to fans of writer and director John Sayles and those who agree with his liberal political views.
Sayles makes no secret of his dislike for the Bush administration. Dicky is a parody of the president, stumbling through speeches. He answers questions from the press, but one of his advisers is always close at hand to prompt him. Bigotry, greed and dirty politics contradict the family’s public image of their “born again” faith. Maddy, the Pilager black sheep, lives in the wilderness with her illegitimate biracial son, drinking alcohol, smoking pot and threatening intruders with her bow and arrow. Dicky’s spiritual adviser is a zealot who rambles on about Moses in the wilderness. Disgusting language includes at least 37 obscenities and profanities. Some violence includes Danny nearly drowning in a pool of toxic waste, flashbacks of the murder and mistreatment of illegal immigrants.