Treitz achieved the seeming impossible by presenting a narrative set in the Civil War with modern sensibilities. By utilizing The Civil War as merely a space for the two strong performances by Tim Morton and David Maloney, Treitz allowed for a proximity to the historical subject matter that obviously resonated with his audience.
The film tells the story of Henry and Francis Mellon, two brothers who own a farmstead in Small’s Corner, Kentucky. The two of them lead a rather insular life, and pass the time with practical jokes and roughhousing, until Henry gets injured and decides to abandon his own family. When he emerges months later, he is a soldier in the Union army — a decision that dramatically changes his relationship with his brother.