A wry & intriguing female-led procedural about an 18th century healer and her humorous mother.
In the world of colonial New England, Sarah Freeborn is an oddity. She is single, whip-smart, and skilled in all sorts of medical matters. She also has a habit of unearthing crimes & misdemeanors, much to the surprise of her neighbors and the exasperation of her long-suffering mother.
With her keen observational powers, and her stubborn refusal to let sleeping dogs lie, Sarah is out to rewrite detective history.
EXT. WOODS – NIGHT
A chilly April night in rural Massachusetts, circa 1745. EPHRAIM PAINE, a florid man in his 50s, stumbles through the moonlit woods singing.
The thirsty earth sucks up the showers… the sea in his prodigious cup, drinks all the rain and rivers up… And nightly, when his course is run, the merry moon drinks up the fun.
Ephraim arrives on the threshold of his house. He freezes in horror at an unknown sight and begins to convulse in his death throes. There is a small thump, followed by a much louder one as the body hits the ground.
EXT. COUNTRY ROAD – DAY
Early in the morning, on the outskirts of a sizeable town west of Boston (e.g. Dedham). SARAH FREEBORN, a plain and sturdy woman, age 28, stumbles past chickens and a curious barking dog, her white apron soaked with blood. She opens a gate and walks toward a small cottage.
INT. COTTAGE ROOM – DAY
Sarah’s mother, EXPERIENCE, an intelligent woman with a weakness for appearances, is stoking a smoky fire. Sarah pauses, exhausted, on the threshold. Experience looks up and screams.
Sarah Freeborn, what on earth…?
(holding up her hand)
Please, mother? That’s your reply? When you come into my home –
My home looking like you’ve gutted a ten-ton pig. And what is in your hair?
It may be rum.
Sarah sinks to the floor.
Or sweat. Or the contents of a woman’s womb. I don’t know, mother, I can’t remember.
Using a spare cloth to snatch a kettle from a hook over the fire, Experience dumps the lukewarm water over Sarah’s head. She cleans Sarah’s hair with the cloth.
How will you ever find a husband when you look like the rodents that Tabitha drags through the manure? She leaves them in my shoes, you know. Dead rats in my heels and a daughter soaked with blood. Joyful days.