Book I: November 3, 1985 Book II: May 4, 1986 Book III: February 27, 1994
No. of episodes
Book I: 6 Book II: 6 Book III: 3
North and South is the title of three American television miniseries broadcast on the ABC network in 1985, 1986, and 1994. Set before, during, and immediately after the American Civil War, they are based on the 1980s trilogy of novels North and South by John Jakes. The 1985 first installment, North and South, remains the seventh-highest rated miniseries in TV history.North and South: Book II (1986) was met with similar success, while 1994's Heaven and Hell: North and South Book III was poorly received by both critics and audiences.
The saga tells the story of the enduring friendship between Orry Main of South Carolina (Patrick Swayze) and George Hazard of Pennsylvania (James Read), who become best friends while attending the United States Military Academy at West Point but later find themselves and their families on opposite sides of the war. The slave-owning Mains are rural planters, while the Hazards, who resided in a small Northern mill town, live by manufacturing and industry, their differences reflecting the divisions between North and South that eventually led to the Civil War.
Filming of the miniseries resulted in four marriages amongst the cast and crew. James Read and Wendy Kilbourne fell in love while shooting scenes where their characters, George Hazard and Constance Flynn Hazard, fell in love. They were married in 1988 and now have two children. Jonathan Frakes and Genie Francis, who had previously played opposite each other on the failed NBC soap Bare Essence, eventually married in 1988. Lesley-Anne Down married assistant cameraman Don E. FauntLeRoy in 1986. When they met during filming of Book 1, both were married to someone else, but eventually obtained divorces.  Terri Garber married North and South cameraman Chris Hager in 1985. The couple divorced four years later, and have a daughter named Molly.
North and South (1985) was directed by Richard T. Heffron, from a script adaptation by Patricia Green, Douglas Heyes, Paul F. Edwards, and Kathleen A. Shelley. It was produced by David L. Wolper, Paul Freeman, Rob Harland, and Chuck McLain, with music by Bill Conti and Stevan Larner as cinematographer. Wolper also produced 1986's North and South: Book II with his son Mark Wolper, as well as Stephanie Austin and Robert Papazian. Conti returned as composer, with Kevin Connor directing, Jacques R. Marquette as cinematographer, and a script by Heyes and Richard Fielder. Heaven and Hell: North and South Book III (1994) was directed by Larry Peerce from a script by Suzanne Clauser. Hal Galli produced the miniseries, with music by David Bell and Don E. FauntLeRoy as cinematographer.
Book I: North and South
Episode 1 (summer 1842 - summer 1844) - Young Southerner Orry Main, the son of a wealthy South Carolina plantation owner, goes to West Point. During the journey, he meets and falls in love with beautiful New Orleans French-Creole Madeline Fabray. In New York City, Orry meets Northerner George Hazard, the second son of a wealthy Pennsylvania steel-factory owner, who is also on his way to West Point. They soon become close friends. At the Academy, they meet the amoral egomaniac Elkanah Bent, a fellow cadet from Georgia. They also meet classmates George Pickett, George McClellan, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and a senior student named Ulysses Grant. Bent is a handsome, smooth-talking man who hides his evil, twisted nature beneath his charm and good looks. He takes an instant dislike to Orry and George and uses his status as their drillmaster to constantly harass them. Orry keeps writing letters to Madeline, although it seems that she has not been responding. After a two-year absence, the men return home for a summer leave. George's abolitionist sister, Virgilia, immediately takes a dislike to Orry as he keeps slaves. While at home, Orry is devastated to learn that Madeline is getting married to his cruel neighbor, plantation owner Justin LaMotte. Orry has an argument with his father over the hiring of the brutal and sadistic Salem Jones as the plantation overseer. Orry stops Jones from using a bullwhip to "punish" a slave. After Orry sees Madeline get married, they find out that Madeline's father has been hiding Orry's letters so that she would marry Justin.
Episode 2 (autumn 1844 - spring 1848) - Bent continues his cruelty towards George, Orry, and their friends. The men, with some help from other cadets, make Bent a fool and he is forced to leave the Academy. When Bent learns of George and Orry's involvement, he promises them he will have revenge. George and Orry graduate from West Point. They leave to fight in the Mexican War. During the Battle of Churubusco, Bent, who has used his political connections to obtain a superior rank, orders George and Orry to lead a suicidal charge against the Mexican forces. Both men survive, but Orry is shot in his left leg and is permanently crippled. Meanwhile, George meets Constance Flynn, the Irish Catholic daughter of an Army surgeon, and falls in love. They plan to marry. Orry turns to drink to drown his sorrows. With the Mexican War over, George quits the army, finds Bent, and beats him up. George tells Bent that, if he ever harms Orry or him again, George will kill Bent. Traumatized by his injuries, Orry temporarily becomes a recluse. When Madeline helps Priam, one of Orry's slaves, escape, one of the other slaves gets whipped for helping Priam.
Episode 3 (spring 1848 - summer 1854) Orry and Madeline become secret lovers. George gets married to Constance and Orry is his best man. Orry's father dies and Orry inherits the family plantation. His first act is to fire the brutal Salem Jones as overseer. Jones vows revenge. Orry's cousin Charles, who does not have good relations with the Main family, is challenged to a pistol duel in a dispute over a woman. Orry helps Charles to survive the duel and they become friends. The Mains visit the Hazards in Pennsylvania. Orry's sister Ashton courts George's brother Billy. Billy and Charles are going to attend West Point together, just as Orry and George did. Orry and George begin a partnership cotton mill at Orry's plantation in South Carolina; they do so on George's condition that Orry not use slave labor in the mill. Virgilia is furious that her family has allowed slaveowners into their house and tries to humiliate them, angering the rest of her family.
Episode 4 (summer 1854 - autumn 1856) - The Hazards visit the Mains in South Carolina. Billy discovers how vain and wicked Ashton can be and falls in love with Ashton's younger sister Brett. George's sister Virgilia helps one of the local slaves escape and gets into trouble. While dying, Madeline's father tells her that her mother's grandmother was black. Billy and Charles graduate from West Point, and both families attend the graduation. Ashton sleeps with many of Billy's friends and gets pregnant. She asks Madeline for help, and Madeline takes her to a local midwife who performs a secret abortion. When Madeline lies to Justin about where she was while she was helping Ashton, he beats Madeline, locks her in a spare bedroom and leaves her to starve and kills Maum Sally.
Episode 5 (spring 1857 - November 1860) - Madeline is drugged by Justin and disappears from society, even seeming to forget her love for Orry. Ashton marries James Huntoon, an ambitious but easily-manipulated South Carolina politician. Orry visits George, but they have a serious argument over the issue of slavery. Orry does not want Brett to marry Billy because of the growing tensions between the North and South. Virgilia marries the slave she helped escape from the Main plantation in South Carolina. They both join abolitionist leader John Brown. In 1859 Brown makes his famous raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, to arm and free the slaves there. The U.S. Army stops the raid, Virgilia's husband is killed, Priam is wounded, and Brown is captured. Virgilia escapes, but is more bitter than ever towards Southerners. Abraham Lincoln is elected President; several Southern states make plans to secede from the U.S. and establish themselves as a separate nation.
Episode 6 (November 6, 1860 - April 1861) - Having argued with Orry and fled to Ashton's house in Charleston, Brett meets Billy who is stationed at Fort Sumter. George visits Orry and the two apologize to each other. Orry gives Brett permission to marry Billy. South Carolina secedes from the Union, infuriating Orry. Brett and Billy get married. Ashton schemes to have Billy killed, partly out of jealously, and partly because Billy is now a "Yankee" enemy. She fails, thanks to the drugged Madeline, who overhears Ashton and Justin's scheme and informs Orry. Orry is enraged at Ashton and tells her that she is no longer a member of the Main family. Madeline leaves Justin and takes refuge with Orry at his family's plantation. Now off the drugs, Madeline plans to divorce Justin and marry Orry. Orry goes to the Hazard's mansion near Philadelphia to give George his part of their cotton mill money. When he arrives, Orry discovers that George and Constance have a baby girl named Hope. Virgilia finds out that Orry is present and tries to have him killed by forming a lynch mob which threatens the Hazard estate; the mob's leaders demand that George give them the "rebel traitor", there is little doubt that they intend to kill Orry. George and Orry face down the mob with shotguns and Orry boards a train to return to South Carolina. The two friends part, unsure if they will ever see each other again. The Civil War begins.
Book II: Love and War
Episode 1 (June 1861 - July 21, 1861) - Orry and Charles, now officers in the Confederate Army, leave the Main family plantation for the war in Virginia. Orry, despite having been against secession, becomes a general and military aide to Confederate President Jefferson Davis in the Confederate capital of Richmond. Meanwhile, George and Billy are in Washington, D.C., where they are officers in the U.S. Army. Billy joins the U.S. Sharpshooters regiment, while George becomes a military aide to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. Charles, a Confederate cavalry officer, meets Augusta Barclay, a Virginia belle who smuggles medicine for the southern soldiers. Virgilia wants to work as a nurse at a Washington, D.C. military hospital and asks Congressman Sam Greene, a fellow abolitionist, for help. Orry's cruel and manipulative sister Ashton meets her match in Elkanah Bent, who sees the Civil War as a great way to get rich by smuggling forbidden luxury goods through the U.S. Navy blockade of the South. Bent and Ashton quickly become lovers, while Ashton's politician husband, James Huntoon, is unaware of his wife's adultery. With Orry and Charles gone to war, Justin kidnaps Madeline from the Main family plantation and burns the cotton barn; Orry's mother is injured trying to stop the fire. The First Battle of Bull Run takes place with George and Constance getting caught up in the panicked aftermath as they reluctantly watch from a distance. The South is the winner.
Episode 2 (July 1861 - summer 1862) - Hearing about her mother's injury, Brett and one of the Main household servants, Semiramis, make the dangerous trip from Washington, D.C. to the Main plantation in South Carolina. Along the way, Semiramis is captured by Union soldiers, but rescued by Brett. Orry leaves Richmond and returns to South Carolina as well; he finds Madeline at Justin's plantation and kills Justin in a fight. Orry and Madeline finally get married. Orry discovers Bent's illegal smuggling enterprise and stops it by capturing Bent's blockade runners, arresting his men, and destroying most of his merchandise. Bent and Ashton vow revenge. Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, George's older brother Stanley takes over the family's steel factories. His greedy wife Isabel talks him into profiteering from the war by using cheap, low-grade iron to make cannons for the U.S. Army; the cannons often explode and kill Northern soldiers. They forge George's name on the documents, in case the cannons are traced back to Hazard Iron.
Episode 3 (September 17, 1862 - spring 1864) - At the bloody battle of Antietam, Charles and Billy nearly kill each other, but each allows the other to escape. Charles's friend Ambrose is killed in the battle by one of the poor-quality cannons made by Hazard Iron. Afterwards, President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation frees the slaves in the rebel Southern states. Most of the slaves leave the Main plantation in South Carolina, but a few remain. Ashton visits her family's plantation, supposedly to see her recovering mother and sister Brett, but in reality to carry out Bent's revenge against Orry. Ashton tells Madeline that she knows that Madeline's mother was a high-priced, part-black prostitute in New Orleans, and that, unless Madeline leaves Orry with no explanation, she will reveal this secret and "ruin" Orry's public reputation. Madeline flees to Charleston where she is befriended by a suave gambler and begins working for the city's poor and orphans who are suffering from the war. Meanwhile, Bent — who has become increasingly psychotic and unstable — begins planning to assassinate Confederate President Jefferson Davis and become the dictator of the South. Billy, sick of not having seen his wife Brett for nearly two years, goes AWOL from the U.S. Army and makes his way to South Carolina, where he and Brett spend some time together. Ashton discovers Billy's presence and goes to tell the local authorities, but Billy is saved when Brett threatens her sister with a pitchfork long enough for Billy to escape.
Episode 4 (May 1864 - late autumn 1864) - When Billy returns to his regiment, his commanding officer threatens to court-martial and execute him if he ever leaves again. Billy is also placed in harm's way by being put in charge of the regiment's skirmishers. George is captured in a raid by Southern forces and taken to the dreaded Libby Prison in Richmond, where he is tortured by the prison's psychotic commandant. Orry is shot and taken to the hospital where Virgilia works; despite her hatred of Southerners, she helps him recover and looks the other way allowing him to escape. Later, Virgilia is accused of allowing a wounded Southern soldier to die and is fired from the hospital. In a fit of rage, Virgilia pushes the elderly chief nurse Mrs. Neal causing her to lose her balance and tumble to the floor. Believing Mrs. Neal to be dead, Virgilia panics and flees the hospital. Desperate for money and a hiding place, she goes to Congressman Greene for help. He gives her money and protection in exchange for sex. Charles saves Augusta from being raped by Northern soldiers at her farm in Virginia, and the two become lovers.
Episode 5 (December 1864 - February 1865) - The war has turned against the South. Orry and Charles save George from Libby Prison, kill the commandant in a fight, and allow George to return to the North. Madeline helps starving people in Charleston. Returning home, George learns of his brother and sister-in-law's illegal business schemes to use cheap iron to build cannon. He forces Stanley and Isabel to admit guilt. Bent tries to kill Madeline in Charleston, but she is rescued by her gambler friend, who saves Madeline but is fatally shot by Bent. Bent enlists James Huntoon for help in his plot to overthrow the Confederate government. Although he is still oblivious to Bent's and Ashton's affair, Huntoon acts as a double agent gathering intelligence on the planned coup d'état and reporting the activities to Jefferson Davis. The Confederate President orders Orry to squash the planned revolution. In a final fight, Orry and Huntoon attack Bent's hideout near Richmond. Bent is (apparently) killed when the ammunition he was hiding in a barn explodes. Ashton confesses her affair to James and tells Orry that she helped Bent drive Madeline away. Orry disowns Ashton and tells Huntoon that he never wants to see his sister again. Ashton begs Huntoon's forgiveness, but he tells her that it is too late.
Episode 6 (March 1865 - April 1865) - The fighting ends with a Northern victory. Orry and George lead troops against each other in the last major battle at Petersburg; Orry is wounded. Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders his army to U.S. Army General Ulysses Grant. Virgilia learns that Mrs. Neal was only slightly injured and becomes enraged when she learns that Congressman Greene had been lying to her about the seriousness of the charges and using Virgilia's dependence for his own gratification. She murders the congressman and is sentenced to death by hanging. She and George have a tearful farewell before her execution. George learns that Orry is wounded and searches for him, finally finding him in a Union hospital. Their reunion is spoiled when both learn that President Lincoln has been shot. George helps Orry find Madeline, who reveals that Orry is now the father of their son. Charles goes to Augusta's farm and finds that she has died giving birth to his child, a son. He goes to Charleston and gets his child from Augusta's uncle's wife. Salem Jones, the cruel and brutal former overseer of the Main plantation, joins with one of the Main's former slaves, Cuffey, to plan an attack on the Main plantation. Their plan is to loot and steal everything from the mansion, kill the Main family, and burn the mansion. With the war over, Billy quits the army and reunites with Brett at her family's plantation. Orry, Madeline, their baby, and George all set out for the Main plantation. Salem Jones leads several former slaves in his attack on the plantation; they burn the mansion before being killed or driven off by Charles, Billy, and Ezra, a former slave who is engaged to marry Brett's slave Semiramis. Orry, George, and Madeline arrive, with the former two helping to fend off the last of the attackers. Οrry's mother is killed in the attack by Cuffey while trying to prevent Semiramis' rape, but Cuffey is shot dead by Charles, while Salem Jones is shot dead by Brett when he is about to shoot Billy. Orry and George pledge to renew their family's friendship, and George agrees to help Orry rebuild his plantation home by reopening the cotton mill and letting Orry take the profits.
Book III: Heaven and Hell
Episode 1 (summer 1865 - autumn 1865) - Elkanah Bent, having survived the explosion of his hidden ammunition depot near Richmond, becomes obsessed with getting "final revenge" on Orry and George, whom he blames for his failures in life. He begins his revenge by going to Richmond and murdering Orry Main with a single stab wound. Furious, Ashton tries unsuccessfully to kill Bent; she then moves to the West to start a new life. Heartbroken at Orry's death, Madeline tries to rebuild the Main family mansion at Mont Royal and helps local freed slaves, to the disapproval of most of her white neighbors. After learning of Orry's death, George goes to Mont Royal and helps Madeline. Charles Main, now a corporal in the U.S. Cavalry in the Old West, meets and romances Willa Parker. Ashton begins working as a prostitute in Santa Fe; her goal is to earn enough money to buy Mont Royal. Carrying out the next part of his plan of revenge, Bent goes to the Hazard mansion near Philadelphia and murders George's wife Constance.
Episode 2 (autumn 1865 - spring 1866) - Devastated by news of his wife's murder, George begins searching for Bent to exact justice. Cooper Main, Orry's older brother, becomes a member of the Ku Klux Klan and begins working to undermine his sister-in-law Madeline's efforts to help local blacks. Isabel, George's greedy sister-in-law, wants to buy Mont Royal and evict the Main family. Charles continues to work as a cavalryman in the Old West, and continues to romance Willa. Realizing that she cannot stand against Cooper and Isabel alone, Madeline asks George for help. Charles helps to form a unit of buffalo soldiers. Cavalrymen massacre a Cheyenne village.
Episode 3 (spring 1866 - spring/summer 1866) - George arrives at Mont Royal to help Madeline, and they fall in love. Carrying out the final part of his revenge, Bent kidnaps Charles and Augusta's son Gus. When George learns of this, he goes West and finds Charles. Together the two men rescue Gus, hunt down Bent, and hang him. The hanging ends the personal "war" between Bent and the Main and Hazard families. When Ashton finally gets home, she weeps when she sees that Mont Royal has been burned. George and Charles return to Mont Royal to help Madeline and the freed slaves defeat the Ku Klux Klan. Cooper takes Madeline during the fight, and George rides after to save her. When Cooper is told by Gettys to kill both Madeline and George, he refuses. Gettys shoots Cooper and George kills Gettys. Charles says his goodbyes before returning to Willa and Gus, while George and Madeline plan for their future together.
Awards and nominations
The North and South miniseries were nominated (N) and awarded (W) with many different awards around the world, among which the most significant are :
Don E. FauntLeRoy for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Mini-Series (N&S3, ep.3)
VHS and DVD releases
North and South Books I and II were released on NTSCVHS in the United States. Book III was never released on VHS in the United States. Books I, II and III were released on PAL VHS in Europe.
All three Books were released on Region 1DVD in October 2004. This release also included a bonus featurette with John Jakes and David Wolper talking about the books and the miniseries; James Read, Lesley-Anne Down, and Patrick Swayze discussing their characters; general thoughts of other cast and crew members; plus information about the historical background and trials of its reconstruction for the miniseries.
The Region 2 DVD release contained only Books I and II at first, but eventually Book III also became available, with the bonus featurette included. All volumes were sold as separate boxes, but later on they were also available in one box.
The Varèse Sarabande Soundtrack Club released the entire score to North and South (1985) in a four-CD box set on February 25, 2008. The tracks in this set are the original recordings used in the production of the series. The entire score to North and South: Book II (1986) was released on October 3, 2008 and includes three CDs.