Steelyard Blues (1973) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A group of misfits decide to leave for a place that they can all be free. Their mode of transportation is a PBY flying boat. The only problem is that the PBY needs a lot of work and they will need jobs to pay for the parts. When they find that they have only 10 days before the PBY is sold for scrap, they decide on borrowing the parts for their trip.

  • Jesse Veldini has just been released from his third prison sentence. His larceny is not a compulsion in and of itself, but a means to support his passion of driving in demolition derbies. Veldini has two primary objectives this time out of prison: never to return to prison, and to reach a specific milestone in his demolition derby career, these two goals which may be incompatible. One of Veldini's brothers, Frank Veldin (who has anglicized his surname), a police detective, is determined for Veldini to live a life of the straight and narrow at any cost. Frank has ulterior motives as he has political aspirations, most specifically to take a run for District Attorney. At their regular hangout of the scrap yard, Veldini reconnects with some of his old "motley" crew, who are equally as non-conformist as him: Eagle, a former human fly in a circus who realizes he is a bit off kilter as shown by he institutionalizing himself voluntarily, and Veldini's kid brother, known solely as The Kid, a guitar player who will follow Veldini in whatever he wants to do. Somewhat outside of this group is Iris Caine, a hooker with unofficial connections in high places. Eagle is certain that Veldini won't survive in the outside the way that Frank wants, and thus is able to convince another motley crew member, Duval Jax, based on his current abode and project, Veldini and the rest of the crew to work on an ultimate goal: to make the plane in which Duval is currently renting and living in operational so that they can escape the tyranny that is Veldini and their collective current lives by flying away to wherever their hearts' desire. In order to do so, they need to buy the plane and purchase the parts they can't scrounge from the scrap yard. That would require the collective to enter or reenter a life of larceny. The major obstacle to them achieving this goal is Frank, who would not hesitate to send Veldini back to prison for his own personal gain.

  • Drifter Veldini frequently finds himself in jail for various misdemeanours, much to the despair of his upright lawyer brother Frank, who is aiming for public office. Trying to get away from Frank's good intentions, Veldini ends up out of town with his other brother, some school chums, and his hooker girlfriend, trying to restore a flying boat to an airworthy state, whatever it takes.


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