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Reuben Forrester (26): 

Our hero. Reuben Forrester is a proud and independent mountain man whose family have owned land in Coal Creek for nearly a hundred years. In Episode One he is cheated out of his land by the Drummond Coal and Coke Company and forced into the mines to earn a living. His almost dysfunctional defiance makes him a courageous and determined adversary for his nemesis Ward Drummond, but he lacks guile and a sense of proportion and can thus easily be manipulated. Initially a loner he soon becomes a leader of the miners in their struggle for economic justice.

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Ward Drummond (49)


The chief antagonist. Self-appointed leader of the coal company owners. Drummond is a native of South Carolina and youngest son of a wealthy, establishment family of slave owners and prominent supporters of the Confederacy; he never tires of mentioning that his grandfather fought with Robert E Lee at Bull Run. On the surface Ward is ultra ‘civilised’ placing great emphasis on the concept of ‘honour’ and on maintaining aristocratic social codes of behaviour. However, he also absolutely believes in the moral and intellectual superiority of his class and is utterly ruthless in asserting their right to rule.

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Aaron Buckner (38)


A black miner and the son a Baptist preacher from the Deep South who turned away from the church when he left the Southern plantations. He rediscovers his faith through the events of Episode One but although he is intelligent, compassionate and pious, his religion becomes a vehicle for the deep rage within him that he tries desperately to control but which leaves him with an explosive and violent temper that in turn leaves him vulnerable and full of self-loathing.


Mother Harris (83)

An Irish organiser for the UMWA. Born in Cork in 1837, her family were victims of the Great Potato Famine, and emigrated to North America when Harris was 10.  In 1861 she married a union organiser George Jones lost her husband and four children to Yellow Fever Mother in 1867. Four years later, she lost her home, shop, and possessions in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and her destitution led to her joining the Knights of Labor and become a full-time union organiser. Harris is a committed, radical, foul-mouthed and aggressive union activist. The relentless tragedies of her past has apparently given her a death wish, which makes her incredibly courageous in the face of violent intimidation and incredibly hard on those who are less foolhardy (based loosely on the historical figure of Mother Jones). 

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Miss Savannah Drummond (22)


Savannah Drummond is a Southern Belle - beautiful, dignified and demur. But she also has a brain, a sense of humour, a social conscience and is hugely ambitious. She wants to be a mining mogul, however, as she finds out more about the conditions in the mining towns she becomes sympathetic to the miner’s cause and in turn this alienates her from her father. Ultimately the question for Savannah is whether she will be prepared to sacrifice financial security and social standing for a political cause.

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Ginny Buckner (37)

Wife of Aaron and mother of Zach. Ginny is tough and calm under pressure. Her anger is not explosive like her husband but as a result it is deeper and far more dangerous. This woman bears a grudge... and she stokes it and feeds it like a blacksmiths furnace. She has no religion and regards Aaron’s born-again faith with contempt... until she realises the potential of Aaron’s preaching to unify the miners against Drummond, Quinlan and Krebbs. After the death of her son, Ginny's aims become murderous - she wants Quinlan dead and will go to any lengths to achieve it.

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Doyle Quinlan (45)


The County Sheriff based in Garrison, the capital of Magan County. Quinlan is a ruthless psychopath who runs Magan County like his own private fiefdom and is paid a small fortune by the coal companies to keep the union out of Magan. Not a civilised bone in his body. He is afraid of no one, including the coal operators and relishes violence and confrontation. (based loosely on the historical figure of Don Chafin)

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Dixie Maccabe (30)


Dixie is an intelligent, well-read, autodidact who doesn’t suffer fools gladly, but she is not a ‘rebel girl’ and her focus is on family. The events of Episode One break her heart and nearly break her spirit and her powerlessness and sense of injustice lead her into a sort of bipolar temporary madness. But in the UMWA she sees the possibility of regaining agency over her own life and the possibility of revenge on the mine owners. Through her grief she finds a new strength and new purpose but at her core she would rather see the downfall of those responsible for her tragedy than see the building of a new world.

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Jed Hicks (28)


Hicks is the elected Town Constable of Weeping. He is a defiant, cocky, dandy who is audacious and lucky rather than strategically smart. He has a young man's sense of his own immortality and his death will come to him as a great surprise. Despite this surface shallowness the values of honesty, duty and loyalty are at the core of who Jed is. Sure he drinks, swears and flirts with women but he would never betray a trust. He loves Belle Tuttle. (based on the historical figure of Sid Hatfield)

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