Devout Pentecostal preacher Eulis "Sonny" Dewey (Robert Duvall) of New Boston, Texas, has a lovely wife (Farrah Fawcett) and two children. But not only has Jessie been cheating on him with a younger minister, Horace (Todd Allen), she has pulled a few strings to gain control of his church. Sonny goes into a violent rage, attacking Horace with a bat during a softball game. With Horace in a coma, Sonny leaves town on a bus, headed east for a new life. He changes his name to E.F., baptizing himself as "The Apostle" to God. Arriving in the black community of Bayou Boutte, Louisiana, he meets Brother Blackwell (John Beasley) who helps him start anew. E.F. works as a garage mechanic and preaches on the streets and a local radio station owned by Elmo (Rich Dial). He leads the community in remodeling a rundown church and gains supporters as he seeks his own salvation. In sorrow from the deaths of both his mother (June Carter Cash) and Horace, he encounters more problems when a racist (Billy Bob Thornton) attempts to drive a bulldozer into his church. Eventually, Jessie finds out where he's living and informs the police. Duvall wrote, directed, and financed this exploration of the evangelical world, shown at the Toronto Film Festival and the New York Film Festival. Filmed in Texas (Denton County, Collin County, and Dallas) and Lafayette, Louisiana.
by Bhob Stewart synopsis