Kansas City | 1996
In 1934, while the rest of the country was mired in the Depression, Kansas City thrived with gambling, prostitution, and jazz-filled nightclubs flourishing under the rule of city bosses and organized crime. On the eve of the municipal elections, a scrappy telegraph operator, Blondie O'Hara, has kidnapped wealthy Carolyn Stilton, a drug-addicted socialite wife married to an advisor to president Roosevelt. Blondie plans to swap Carolyn for her small-time gangster husband Johnnie who has been taken hostage by big-time gangster and club owner Seldom Seen. Robert Altman's riff on race, class, and power cross-cuts between the two kidnappings and the background of corrupt politics and virtuoso jazz music.