The Other Durant
Based on true events, this is could be a spin-off of the popular tv series Hell on Wheels; based on one of the real-life historical figures and his family.
Business scandals and the 1873 recession leave railroad baron Doc Durant, broke and embattled. He demands his family return from London, where they've enjoyed a privileged lifestyle for over a decade while he built the Transcontinental Line. He tells them they need to rebuild their fortune in the Adirondack Wilderness where he has acquired over half of a million acres. For his daughter, Ella, a budding novelist, living in the wilderness is not the lifestle she envisioned. Her exile also means leaving behind her aristo lover and she will do anything to defy her father.
Project Type:Television Script
Number of Pages:55
Country of Origin:United States
Sheila Myes is an award-winning author of four novels. Her last novel, part of the trilogy in the Durant family, won the 2017 Adirondack Centers for Writing Best Book of Fiction and received a Kirkus starred review.
Her essays and short stories are published in The Stone Canoe Literary Magazine, Embark Magazine, The Adirondack Life Magazine, and Crossing Genres. Her upcoming novel, The Truth of Who You Are, set during the Great Depression will be released by Black Rose Writing in April 2022.
She has written two scripts: one based on her Durant Family Saga novels and one based on a short story about a Xanax addled millennial who confronts a mountain lion while snow shoeing.
Told from the perspective of Heloise Durant Rose (aka Ella Durant, aka The Other Durant), this story is a fictionalized version of actual events and people.
After staying in a remote cabin built by William Durant for his mistress, I found myself pulled into the Durant family drama. What started as an idea for a love story set in the Adirondack wilderness turned into an epic saga that spanned three decades of the Gilded Age. Doc Durant and his son William are both famous figures in American history and there are several biographies on their accomplishments and scandals.
However, although she was a published novelist, playwright, and poet I was unable to find any biographies written about William’s sister, Ella. I had to piece together her story by reading the poetry she wrote while exiled in a convent, her novel, and old newspaper accounts of the lawsuit she waged in 1895 against her brother William.
I wrote about the lack of material on Ella in a published essay in the Adirondack Life Magazine titled: The Other Durant, lamenting, “If well-behaved women seldom make history, then one would think Heloise “Ella” Durant Rose (1855–1943) would have a whole biography. But she doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page” (at least she didn’t at the time).
Although my novels have a number of POV's: William, Ella, and their father, the script editor I worked with suggested telling the story through Ella's lens. And this is the product.