Metis and raised by her father, Kat was born to the buffalo hunt. She spent her life on the Great Plains and wants to start a ranch, to breed and raise cattle. She shared this dream with her husband Jeremiah, until he was lost in a brutal massacre. Already a headstrong, passionate woman, Kat drives those traits toward a search for justice. She believes a woman is just as capable as a man, regardless of society’s opinion, and shows little patience for those who are not aware of their own capabilities.
Precocious and brilliant as a child, Rebecca was adopted by Dr. Thomas Blithely and his wife Emily. Thomas trained Rebecca in medicine and, though not accredited, Rebecca is a surgeon and a scientist with respect for medicine and the workings of the human body. In demeanor Rebecca is cool, sometimes cold as she is afraid to accept the power of emotion in her life. Nevertheless, she yearns for love and companionship. She is the very definition of curiosity.
Isabelle is the most charismatic and charming of cons. Hailing from a family of cons, Isabelle plays a medium and psychic whose “fortunes” have made her a fortune. Married to John Slotter, Isabelle has established a sporting house and plans to build herself an empire. She’s quick-witted, quick-tempered, and fiercely independent. Isabelle is a survivor who will stop at nothing to advance her agenda.
There’s no man who truly wants to be evil or thinks himself a devil, especially if he can blame his wife. Especially if that wife is Isabelle. There are parts of him that want to love, honour and cherish her – and he does, at times – but Slotter is a man consumed with need for power and authority. More than anything, Slotter is bent on control. He must be in charge, he must know everything that goes on around him. If he doesn’t, he is murderous.
A fateful meeting on the prairie in 1869 leads to tragedy, a struggle for survival and the search for justice and renewal. Powerful and dynamic new drama about three strong and independent women who join forces to seek a new way of life in the perilous and dangerous world of the North American Frontier of the 1860s. At a remote town on the North American frontier, the hopes and dreams of a wide and diverse group of acre to justice. Katherine Loving and her husband Jeremiah are heading west, towards a better life. In a bittersweet beginning to their lives together, they find themselves at a stagecoach depot, where they use the same preacher and shade of the same tree to bury their dead child and then marry. It’s here that Kat and Jeremiah encounter another couple beginning anew. An unaccredited surgeon, Rebecca Blithely is a brilliant young woman with a vocation and nowhere to practice. Her husband, Dr. Thomas Blithely, grieves the loss of his fi rst wife and has entered into an uncomfortable marriage with Rebecca, his much younger ward. Also at Station House is Isabelle Slotter. Her husband, Captain John Slotter, is a powerful and troubled man, who owns and controls everything in Janestown, a mining camp on the US/Canada border. Founded in greed, Slotter plans to build a branch-line railway, forge an empire and make a fortune on the backs of his workers while Isabelle, a ruthless and Machiavellian con-artist, runs what has become a famous House of Prostitution.
When Kat and her husband thwart Slotter’s plan to collect two young girls as new whores for his brothel, he is enraged. He and his men masquerade as an “Indian” war party and massacre the men in the wagon trail. Under Slotter’s forced suggestion, the vulnerable wives and daughters move to Janestown where they will have few options other than to become whores. At first Kat, Isabelle and Rebecca’s backgrounds and characters sit at polar opposites but, as their resistance to Slotter grows and their need for justice increases, the women form a delicate union that will see them take control and lead the town to keep trouble and corruption at bay. A daily challenge in this dangerous and volatile world. Strange Empire pulls the focus of a traditionally male drama genre onto the women, to thrilling effect. Beautifully filmed and crafted, this is premium drama rich in character and adventure.
NEW – 13 X 60’ HD
Cara Gee (Darknet, Empire Of Dirt)
Tattiawna Jones (19-2, Flashpoint)
Melissa Farman (Lost, Call Me Crazy: A Five Film, Elementary)
Aaron Poole (The Captive, Republic Of Doyle)
Laurie Finstad (Durham County, Bliss)
Johnson Production Group
Kat’s girls are captured by Slotter; Isabelle uses her “powers” to entice potential investors for the mine.
Kat tells Marshal Caleb Mecredi she believes Slotter is guilty; Isabelle must convince Cornelius to loan her the miner’s wages.
Slotter attempts to hang two Blackfoot men as scapegoats; Jared tries to drive a wedge between Isabelle and Slotter.
With Jeremiah missing and bounty hunters on her trail, Kat meets a medicine woman who takes her on a journey to help her search.
Slotter grows jealous of a baby that has been foisted upon him due to Isabelle buying the infant represents justice or is just another cold-blooded killer.
Rebecca believes amputation is the only hope for Thomas’s survival; the girls stumble on cattle rustlers and spend a night in terror.
A self-proclaimed prophet from Utah territory sets his eyes on Kelly. Isabelle tries to orchestrate their union to get her hands on the prophet’s money.
The women take sides as Slotter’s miners and Ling’s railway workers fight each other for control of the mine. Violence escalates and ends in loss on both sides.
With the mine in ruins, Slotter’s depravity reaches new depths as the camp struggles to save the last surviving miners trapped underground.
Chase Sloat is hounded by ghosts. The women use his troubled mind to their advantage as the Slotter household turns on itself.
An army of militia men is hired by Slotter to secure his power in Janestown. Kat goes in search of weapons and makes a plan to take the camp back.
Laurie Finstad Knizhnik is the creator, showrunner and executive producer of Strange Empire. The Gemini award-winning writer, also co-created, wrote and executive produced three seasons of TMN/HBO Canada's "Durham County," a series that the Globe and Mail hailed as Canada's entry into the Golden Age of television. The series won and was nominated for numerous awards for writing, direction, acting, production design and craft categories.
Laurie recently wrote a documentary about the human sense of smell entitled "The Pleasures of the Scents". It is produced by Montreal's Lowik Media. The director is Oscar-nominated Kim Nguyen (War Witch) and it will be released in 2015.
Laurie divides her time between Montreal and rural Quebec, and is always at workon the novel in the bottom drawer.