Unholy Toledo by Mary Goldman | Script Revolution

Unholy Toledo

When a couple of runaway farm boys start running slots in Prohibition-era Toledo the ruthless Purple Gang moves in, kidnapping one of their wives, setting up a high stakes game of life and death.



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Loudon, Ohio: Small, but wiry, young Louis House, flees the family farm. Tempered from years of abuse at the hands of his father, he’s tough as nails and has developed a thirst for the bottle. While waiting to hop a train he meets the much bigger youth, Tuffy Lemarr, a happy-go-lucky sort with a taste for adventure. The world beyond awaits them and they are determined to see it. Becoming fast friends, they visit a hobo camp, narrowly escaping disaster, then hop a train and ride the rails into Toledo, Ohio.

The time is Prohibition. Toledo has become a mecca for gambling and bootlegging amidst an atmosphere of political corruption. Here we meet historical figures, such as Toledo's beloved Jackie Kennedy, a charming Irish bruiser who rose to prominence running speakeasies, the ambitious Firetop Saulkin, a political fixer with a ruthless thirst for power, and the infamous Detroit mob boss, Yonnie Licavoli and the Purple Gang, who’ll stop at nothing to take over Toledo.

Louie and Tuffy quickly grow from boys to men as they carve out a life for themselves in their new city. They find work in the railway yards where Louie goes up against Big Bart in a bare knuckle prize fight, staking his first business venture, a billiards hall. To this Louie adds a string of slot machines throughout the city. Tuffy opens a cigar shop, running high-stakes poker games in the back. Louie meets and falls in love with Mary, a transplanted farm girl, working to make her own way in the big city. Life is sweet…until Yonnie Licavoli comes to town to work with Firetop Saulkin.

To the Purple Gang extortion is the name of the game and nobody’s better at it than Yonnie Licavoli. When Yonnie sets his sights on Lou and turns up the heat, Lou responds to the pressure by slipping further into the bottle, which threatens to destroy
Lou's marriage and all that he holds dear.

Tuffy hasn't the stomach for the violence and wants to pack it in but Lou won't budge. When he refuses to pay financial tribute, Licavoli tightens the screws, kidnapping Lou’s wife Mary for ransom. With it all on the line, Lou must face his demons and halt his alcoholic spiral if he has any chance of getting Mary back alive.

The ties that bind Lou and Tuffy are long and strong--Tuffy puts aside his fears, rising to the challenge alongside Lou. With the clock ticking and no time to spare they turn to their old friend and ally, Jackie Kennedy. Meanwhile, Mary has to fend off Licavoli’s henchman, the lecherous Joe Wop…

The story climaxes in a car chase shootout where Louie, Jackie and Tuffy triumph over Licavoli and his gang, settling the score once and for all.

Attached Talent: 

Co-writer Tim House

All Accolades & Coverage: 

Finalist 2020 PAGE International screenplay competition
Quarter-finalist 2018 PAGE International screenplay competition
Top 10 Historical Category on WinningScripts.com
Top 10 Table Read My Screenplay New Orleans Competition
Quarter-finalist 2017 Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition
Semi-finalist 2016 Scriptapalooza
Martin Katz Fellow at the Blacklist Mini-Lab at 2015 Toronto International Film Festival
Nine on The Blacklist
Top 100 2014 Emerging Screenwriters’ Screenplay Competition

Feedback from The Blacklist:
"This story defies categorization and entertains from start to finish as it tells the story of LOUIS HOUSE and his friend TUFFY."
"American film audiences love a good crime drama with action and this project more than fits the bill...this movie is entertaining and has all the elements of a well-performing theater release...likely to draw critical acclaim, perform well in box office sales, and it is a period piece without the usual hefty pricetag."

Feedback from Slamdance:
"Masterful use of period-specific dialect. It’s rare to read a period-set script with dialogue that feels comfortable and natural sitting on the characters’ shoulders."

Submitted: August 16, 2018
Last Updated: November 13, 2021

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This Script Is Loved By 12 Readers

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The Writer: Mary Goldman

I am a Toronto writer and actor with an eclectic background: Tried my hand at fashion design, which led me to graphic design where I found a home working primarily in print media. Raised a family, jumped into my childhood dream of acting and managed to book professional jobs in film, TV shows and commercials as well as live theatre productions. When my 18 year-old daughter left to backpack Europe (nine months of no sleep for me!), the idea for my first screenplay, The Rain in Spain , was born. I fell in love with the craft and have been at it ever since, honing my skills with workshops (Syd Field, Steve Kaplan, Raindance) and online courses (Screenwriting U, Screenwriting Masterclass). Both... Go to bio

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