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Book One of the 1976 American mini series adapated from the novel by Irwin Shaw that made Nick Nolte a star.
Two strong-willed brothers battle for the attention of their parents and, as World War II ends, begin a 20-year odyssey that will take one to great wealth and power and the other to the brink of destruction. Rudy (Peter Strauss) and Tom (Nick Nolte) Jordache, the sons of an immigrant family, are both fighting to gain the attention of their bitter and disillusioned parents (Edward Asner and Dorothy McGuire).
Rudy is industrious and ambitious while Tom is tough and independent, often resorting to vicious pranks to gain attention. Rudy's childhood sweetheart, Julie Prescott (Susan Blakely) tries to convince him to leave their small town, and when Rudy turns her down, she succumbs to the advances of Teddy Boylan (Robert Reed), the town's wealthy playboy. Tom secretly witnesses the affair and sets a fire, hoping to attract Rudy to the scene. However, Tom's plan goes awry and he is banished by his father from the town and his family...