Conflict arises in the small town of Holly Springs when an old woman's death causes a variety of reactions among family and friends.

Cora Duvall: Camille, Aunt Jewel shot herself.
Camille Dixon: We don't know that Aunt Jewel shot herself.
Cora Duvall: What do you mean?
Camille Dixon: All we know was that Aunt Jewel was shot, period.
Cora Duvall: But - but the gun was in her hand. She must have - must have -
Camille Dixon: Don't always go for the obvious, Cora. Just think!
Cora Duvall: What are you eating?
Camille Dixon: Nothin'. Now, you just listen to me, all right? Aunt Jewel did not commit suicide. Nobody in this family commits suicide. Suicide is a disgrace. Only crazy people commit suicide. So if that's what come - some robber, some murderer is trying to make this look like, well, forget that you saw the gun in her hand, you hear me? It was not there. Aunt Jewel did not commit suicide.
Lester Boyle: He's innocent.
Eddie "The Expert" Pitts: And what makes you so sure of that?
Lester Boyle: I've fished with him.
[the police lab reports that Camille is a hemophiliac]
Otis Tucker: A condition under which, in times of extreme stress, her blood will not clot properly. Emma, Camille Dixon is your aunt, isn't she?
Emma Duvall: Unfortunately.
Otis Tucker: You ever seen her suffer from this condition?
Emma Duvall: Unfortunately not.
[playing Scrabble in Willis's cell]
Willis Richland: "A-we". Triple word, that's it, I'm out.
Lester Boyle: "A-we"? A-we? A-we is not a word!
[He hits the table, upsetting the board and scattering letters everywhere]
Jack Palmer: AWE, Lester, "awe". From Old Norse, derived from the reconstructed Indo-European base "Agh!" A combination of fear, reverence, and wonder.
Emma Duvall: So I'm part black!

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