Synopsis by Mark Deming
A man who acts upon his conscience opens a Pandora's box of racism and intolerance in this made-for-TV drama. Temple Rayburn (James Woods) is an attorney who lives and works in a small Southern community in the 1940s. When Rayburn and his wife Celia (Elizabeth McGovern) encounter a young man named Ben Tyler (Charles Mattocks) -- an African-American youth who is retarded and has nowhere to go -- they take pity on him and allow him to stay in their home. However, at a time and place when black and white citizens were not allowed to use the same drinking fountains, Temple's decision raises more than a few eyebrows, and the Rayburn household soon becomes the center of a local political firestorm. The Summer of Ben Tyler was originally aired as part of the award-winning anthology series The Hallmark Hall of Fame.
conscience, controversy, lawyer, mental-retardation, political-unrest, segregation