The Farmer’s Daughter (1947)

Inciting Event: After losing her nursing-school tuition to the slimy painter Adolph, Katie applies for a job as a maid at Congressman Morley’s house. This story is fundamentally a romantic comedy, but it also keeps its plot-line very tight with its political through-line subplot. Although quite a bit has happened already to Katie in order to set this up (Adolph tries to take advantage of her, she loses her money paying for repairs after he wrecks his car, and he refuses to pay her back when she visits his apartment), the true story doesn’t begin until she enters the political arena of the powerful but good-hearted Congressman Glenn Morley and his mother Agatha.

First Plot Point: The Morleys hire Katie as a maid on a semi-permanent basis. Even though she’s already been a maid in their house for a day, this is the moment when she officially enters the “adventure world” of the Second Act. Glenn hires her primarily because he is attracted to her and finds her outspoken political opinions interesting, so this is a key step forward in both the romance and the political subplot.

First Pinch Point: Glenn learns Katie is going to give her notice so she can attend nursing school—and he’s subsequently called away to Europe on business. This pinch point focuses entirely on the main conflict: Katie and Glenn’s relationship. The antagonistic force in this story (and all romances) is anything that keeps them apart. In this case, the obstacle is their conflicting personal goals (which are resolved relatively easily).

Midpoint: The other Congressman from Glenn’s district dies, and Glenn and his party have to choose a new candidate to replace him. Katie overhears a conversation that initially makes her believe Glenn is the one who died, and she faints in distress. When she discovers Glenn is going to nominate a man named Anders Finley, she strongly disagrees. In a one-two punch, this Midpoint does a nice job of turning the corner on both the romance (for the first time, Katie clearly and publically demonstrates the strength of her feelings for Glenn) and the politics (up to now, Katie has been nothing more than observer of the Morleys’ world of politics; after this, she will be spurred to take political action of her own).

Second Pinch Point: At the meeting announcing Finley as the special Congressman, Katie causes a stir (and much embarrassment to Glenn) when she stands up and publically questions Finley’s past political actions. This is the scene that propels Katie into the political arena on her own account (she subsequently agrees to run against Finley), but it functions as an emphasis of the antagonistic force because it raises significant barriers between her and Glenn. He’s in love with her (although he won’t admit it yet), but the political views they each value deeply are now at odds with each other’s.

Third Plot Point: The campaign war between Katie and Finley (and the Morleys) begins, and Adolph the painter comes forward with lies about Katie being a “tramp.” Despite Glenn’s attempts to stop it, the papers run the story and Katie flees back her father’s farm in defeat. This is, seemingly, the “death” of her political career as well as her relationship with Glenn.

Climax: After Glenn ask Katie to marry him and she decides to return to finish out the political race, Glenn’s mother learns Finley paid Adolph to lie about Katie and that he is holding Adolph in his cabin at the lake. Glen, Katie, and her brothers roar off to battle Finley’s goons, grab Adolph, and force him to tell the truth.

Climactic Moment: Katie is elected to Congress.

Resolution: Katie and Glenn—now married—arrive in Washington together.

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