Beulah Land is an edited, movie-length version of the three-part TV miniseries adaptation of Lonnie Coleman's multi-part novels. The film is set in the Old South, with a time span ranging from 1827 to the postwar Reconstruction Era. Lesley Ann Warren stars as Sarah Kendrick, young belle of the Beulah Land plantation, who finds herself in love with a "damn Yankee." Sarah must also contend with a weakling brother (Paul Rudd) and a former slave (Dorian Harewood) who demands freedom as a right rather than a privilege. Beulah Land took forever to get before the cameras due to protests from black historical organizations; when it was finally telecast on October 7-9, 1980, NBC conducted a low-pressure ad campaign, as though the network was still fearful of stepping on toes despite the testimonial of a black Yale history professor, who commended the production for its "special sensitivity."
by Hal Erickson synopsis