Why did the Old South incinerate itself?
"You can tell your grandchildren how you watched the Old South disappear one night."
It is the only time the author, Margaret Mitchell, refers to herself in this four hour movie based on the spellbinding story of Scarlet, Rhett, and their families who endured the enigmas of the United States Civil War.
Mitchell is the granddaughter of such a survivor. The story is based on her reminiscings of how the Confederate army set fire to the ammunition warehouse as the Yankees were coming. Yet mysteriously, ammunition was the LAST to explode.
After escaping the burning of Atlanta, Rhett and Scarlet observe the retreating, and collapsing, Southern army. He tells her to explain this to her descendants one day. Scarlet, temporarily rendered speechless, looks around.
At the beginning of the story we find Scarlet, as the heiress to a plantation, surrounded by suitors as she lives a life of luxurious excesses. But one man is missing, her favorite, Ashley, the husband of Melanie, the only woman who became the sister she never had. And Melanie's brother, Charles, is one of Scarlet's suitors.
Scarlet is on the same level as Charles, as she is at opposite ends with Rhett, while she is fascinated by Frank, the suitor of her biological sister.
From this fascinating time before the Civil War, to after it when their former slaves find themselves free to endure the exploits of the carpet baggers as the occupying Yankee army obsesses itself with levying taxes and extorting money from the Caucasions, "Gone with the Wind" is a unique presentation of the unanswered questions from this little understood moment of North American history.