Drama. By Carol Korty and Susa Wuorinen.
Cast: 5m., 4w. or 4m., 4w. Extras as desired. Rural seacoast Maine, 1873: 14-year-old Sadie Coggins, upon completing her studies at the local one-room school, finds her ambitions for attending high school and getting out to see the wider world thwarted by her family's sudden loss of funds in the Panic of 1873. This piece of bad news arrives in the same mail delivery as both her acceptance to high school in another town and a box of pyrite, or fool's gold, from her uncle's mining out West. There is now no money for tuition and board. During a difficult summer, she works at menial jobs to earn what money she can. Her parents' solution is to submit her name to fill the vacant teacher's position in town. Sadie feels neither ready nor qualified to teach her former classmates, especially since one of these is the school bully, Frank, who taunts not only her but also the town's simple character, Cully. The fool's gold surprisingly presents a means for financing her schooling. Its shine attracts the attention of Cully, who urges Sadie to trade it for his bars of locally mined silver, which hold no interest for him. Though she knows the trade would be unfair, her desire for continuing her studies overcomes her hesitancy, and she gives Cully the pyrite in return for his silver. In the meantime, Frank and his cohorts escalate their harassment of Cully, resulting in a fire that destroys Cully's house. A new house must be built, but there is no money for supplies. Sadie now faces an ethical dilemma: keep the silver to pay for her way out of town, as strongly urged by her best friend, or return it to Cully to pay for lumber? How can she face her father, who has no patience for anything but straight dealings? Through this struggle, she learns the importance of acknowledging the consequences of one's actions and of making amends when needed. By resolving her dilemmas in confrontations with her best friend, her father and Frank, Sadie courageously begins to chart her own course. Simple setting. Approximate running time: 60 minutes.