Season 4's characters and events are fictional, but are inspired by a fascinating period in American history.
VonKieran Fischer· Released September 22, 2020
real storiesis an ongoing column about the true stories behind movies and TV shows. It's that simple. This installment focuses on the true story and historical events that shaped Fargo's fourth season.
"This is a true story" is a well-known expression forfargofans. He appears on the big screen and in every episode of the television spin-off, suggesting that the events depicted also occurred in real life. While the creator of the television seriesNoah Hawley,deniedwhich was based on their version of the Coen brothers' 1996 true events film, informed the story to some extent each season. The next one is no different.
season 4 offargois set in Kansas City, Missouri in the 1950s, near the end of two major migrations in United States history. Europeans from countries such as Italy arrived around the turn of the century and settled in the northern and midwestern states. Elsewhere, African Americans left the South to escape hardship and traveled to many of the same places.
After the US Civil War in 1865, the Midwest was an attractive prospect for underprivileged individuals looking for change and opportunity. This was especially true for African Americans. The Kansas Constitution of 1859 opened the state of Kansas to all settlers, regardless of race or ethnicity. Black Americans saw this as an escape from the racial and economic oppression that still existed in the southern states. A place where they could truly be free, because ending slavery didn't stop the Ku Klux Klan and the White League from spreading even more terror.
nicknames ofexodus movementAfrican-American migration was originally sparked by a false rumor. In 1879, word spread in the South that the government was distributing free land to former slaves in Kansas. Naturally, this inspired people to pack their bags and build a better life for themselves. By the end of the year, around 40,000 people had made the trip to the Midwest.
Europeans who moved to the state also did so in search of riches. Italians largely came from the rural areas of their homeland, where it was difficult for them to find economic opportunities. The country was overcrowded, wages low and taxes high. if kansasopened an underground coal mine in 1874, many Italians saw it as the gateway to living the American dream.
Many travelers who set out for Kansas never reached their intended destination. Then they settled in Missouri and other neighboring states. for many settlersStaying in Missouri was easieras the ships that brought them from their previous locations mostly ended up in St. Louis and Kansas City. Travel also left people in poverty when they arrived in these cities. They didn't have the resources to go further.
The influx of settlers into Kansas and Missouri significantly increased the population of the region's major metropolitan areas. In 1889, 130,000 people called Kansas City home and helped usher in a new era of vitality and economic growth for the metropolitan area, which includes parts of Kansas and Missouri. The shipyard, railroad, nightlife, and baseball brought in a lot of money for the city. It also didn't hurt that citizens could get drunk. More on that later.
While most immigrants sought law enforcement opportunities, some chose to make their fortune through more questionable methods. In the early 20th century, organized crime in Kansas City was on the rise, largely caused by mob members. Hedigiovanni brothers, Joseph and Pietro, fled Sicily and arrived in the city in 1912. It wasn't long before they became involved in a variety of criminal activities, including extortion, gambling and smuggling. With their Black Hand organization, they helped shape the city's dark underworld.
The brothers ended up working forJohnny Lacia, who became the head of organized crime in the city during Prohibition. Lazia and the DiGiovanni gang were allied with themTom Pendergast, head of the "Pendergast Machine" that controlled the city's government at the time. He gave them free rein to sell illegal liquor and earn some money. Under Pendergast's control, no alcohol-related arrests were made in Kansas City during Prohibition. This also helped the mafia to gain a foothold in the city.
By the time the 1950s arrived, organized crime was rampant across much of the United States. in Kansas City,Anthony GizzojNicholas CivellaThey were the most prominent gangsters. Their influence was so strong that they even caught the attention of the United States Senate. During the 1950 Kefauver hearings, they were officially identified as two of the most notorious scarecrows in the country's criminal underworld.
Gizzo became something of a media sensation during the hearings. They asked how much money he had with him. He then took a roll of $100 bills from his pocket and counted the money on the witness table. He had twenty-five bills in his possession that day, which were change for Gizzo. Senator Estes Kefauver likened the gangster's cocky performance to showing off, but he certainly got people's attention with his antics.
Civella, in turn, was responsible for forging alliances with other crime syndicates, thus consolidating power in their favor. The gangster retained power until his final arrest in the 1970s, but that didn't exactly bring peace between the criminal factions. During Civella's tenure as a crime boss, he went to war with other gangs. Human lives were lost in the process. The conflict culminated in a bloodbath that erupted in the River Quay neighborhood in the 1970s.
In fact, Civella was alluded tofargoBefore. The second season introduces the charactersinspired by the Kansas City crime familyin the 1970s, as Civella neared the end of its reign of terror. In this context, season 4 can be interpreted as a kind of prequel. Hawley is clearly intrigued by this particular gangster.
Meanwhile, African-American organized crime also increased during the Great Migration and beyond. It all started with a focus on the trucking and smuggling industries. while mostScientific researchClaims that black criminals played a minor role in these criminal activities, working mostly with more dominant crime syndicates, history has shown that there were complex organizations that existed independently and had their own impact.
EmfargoSeason 4,Chris RockHe plays the leader of a growing black criminal sect bent on controlling organized crime in the city. The most notorious African-American gangsters in Kansas City history were known asthe black mafia, whose rise to power is most commonly associated with the 1960s and 1970s. While the show's history is not in line with its dominant years, the Black Mafia's early beginnings may have shed some light.fargo.
Also known as The Purple Capsule Gang, reportedly led by Eddie David Cox, Eugene Richardson, and James "Doc" Dearborn, the group controlled the east side of town and was known for drugs, prostitution, and loan sharking.According to Gangland Wire, the syndicate was formed in the 1950s and gained a foothold on the drug scene after the Italians ordered its members to stop dealing heroin. The organization may be best known for its Chicago and New York affiliates, but they have left their mark on Kansas City's criminal underworld.
The rise of organized crime in the North and Midwest at the end of the Great Migration period is a long and complex story. However, 1950 was a notable year for crime in the region, and that makes it a perfect setting for this story. It's a tale of thieves from diverse backgrounds whose corrupt pursuit of the American dream has a lot in common. Even if your cultural experiences are very different in many ways.
Related Topics:fargo,real stories
Kieran is a contributor to the site you are reading. He also loves the movie Varsity Blues.
What true story is Fargo Season 4 based on? ›
Every episode of “Fargo” starts with a claim that it's based on a true story, but of course it is not. Hawley says the new season is not inspired by any real Kansas City mob history.Why does Fargo say its based on a true story? ›
“We wanted to make a movie just in the genre of a true story movie," he said. "You don't have to have a true story to make a true story movie.” In essence, the Coens wanted to the film to carry the feeling of being a sordid true-crime drama, even if the events being presented never actually happened.Is Fargo series actually based on a true story? ›
Fargo is an American black comedy crime drama television series created and primarily written by Noah Hawley. The show is inspired by the 1996 film of the same name, which was written and directed by the Coen brothers, and takes place within the same fictional universe.How much is Fargo based on a true story? ›
It may not follow the series of events as they naturally occurred, but the crimes that take place throughout the film are nonetheless taken from cases that actually unfolded. It was indeed the murder of Helle Crafts that was cited as the crime behind the making of Fargo.Who is Lorne Malvo based on? ›
Martin Freeman's Lester Nygaard and Billy Bob Thornton's Lorne Malvo are completely fictional.Who is Oraetta Mayflower based on? ›
While "Angel of Death" Oraetta Mayflower on "Fargo" is a fictional character, Orville Lynn Majors is a real-life killer nurse who shares the same eerie moniker — and he's not the only murderous hospital worker out there. Nurses are always here to help patients live ...Will there be a Fargo season 5? ›
When will Fargo season five be released? No release date has been announced, but the new season is expected to arrive in 2023. Filming is already well underway, having begun in October 2022.Who is the real Lester Nygaard? ›
|Based on||Jerry Lundegaard of Fargo by Joel and Ethan Coen|
|Portrayed by||Martin Freeman|
|Occupation||Life insurance salesman|
But what happened to the money? After Carl's brutal execution at the hands of his partner, he was never able to retrieve his stash. That's right — he left almost $1 million buried in the snow at the side of a road in the middle of nowhere.Who was the real hitman in Fargo? ›
|Portrayed by||Billy Bob Thornton|
|Aliases||Duluth Dr. Michaelson Saint Paul Frank Peterson|
How true are the events in Fargo series? ›
However, neither the movie nor the TV show are actually based on true events. In a 2014 interview, the show's executive producer Noah Hawley clarified the "true story" episode introductions by saying "the show.... It's all just made up.What happened to Jerry Lundegaard? ›
The police arrive at the motel, but Jerry tries to escape through a window. However, the policemen restrain him onto a bed and arrest him. He is put in prison for a long sentence, given his role in the kidnapping.Who is the butcher of luverne? ›
Ed is a butcher and the devoted husband of Peggy Blumquist. They live together in their hometown of Luverne, a small city in Minnesota. Ed is perfectly content with their life and believes that he is tracking well, with plans to buy the butcher shop where he works.How much was the ransom in Fargo? ›
Carl tells him that he will be arriving tomorrow to pick up the ransom, but demands more money so he and Gaear can leave the country because of the shootings. He demands the entire ransom of $80,000, unaware that Jerry told Wade the ransom is $1 million.Was Fargo actually filmed in Fargo? ›
While none of Fargo was actually filmed in Fargo, the Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau exhibits original script copies and several props used in the film, including the wood chipper prop.What is Lorne Malvo backstory? ›
Lorne Malvo is a main character and an antagonist in Fargo Season 1. Before his demise, Malvo was a manipulative contract killer and conman based out of Reno, Nevada, who eventually stumbled into Lester Nygaard at the hospital after Lester received a facial injury caused by Sam Hess.Is Lorne Malvo an anagram? ›
He's Lorne Malvo, almost an anagram for malevolent and he lives up to his name. Still, one of the admirable aspects of so many FX series — “Justified,” “The Americans,” “American Horror Story” — is that the producers aren't afraid to make their bad guys and gals charismatic.How much time did Lee Malvo get? ›
Malvo was convicted of capital murder in Virginia and sentenced to life in prison without parole.Why did Oraetta poison the pie? ›
She soaked the apples in ipecac syrup before baking them into the pie. Once the pie was finished, she took it to Ethelrida's house and left it on the porch. She likely did so due to her obsession of power over others being threatened by Ethelrida's pretentiousness.Who is Lester in Fargo based on? ›
Like the original 1996 classic Fargo, this 10-episode series is based on a Minnesota true crime story. Lester Nygaard is loosely based on William H. Macy's Jerry Lundegaard, while Bemidji, Minnesota cop Molly Solverson is inspired by Frances McDormand's Marge Gunderson.
Who was the real life nurse serial killer? ›
Charles Edmund Cullen (born February 22, 1960) is an American serial killer. Cullen, a nurse, murdered dozens – possibly hundreds – of patients during a 16-year career spanning several New Jersey medical centers, until being arrested in 2003.What will Fargo season 5 be about? ›
The official description of the fifth season of the show states, “Set in 2019, when is a kidnapping not a kidnapping, and what if your wife isn't yours?”Who is the pregnant lady in Fargo? ›
In 1996, McDormand starred as pregnant police Chief Marge Gunderson in Fargo, written and directed by the Coen brothers.Where is Fargo season 5 filming? ›
According to a social media post from the Village of Beiseker, the popular and critically acclaimed television series Fargo will be filming some scenes in Beiseker for its upcoming fifth season between Feb. 27 and March 1.Who kills Lester Nygaard? ›
The final showdown between Lorne Malvo and Lester Nygaard ended up a bit of a draw: Nygaard bloodied Malvo's leg with a bear trap while Malvo bloodied Nygaard's nose by hurling an object at his face. In the end, they both died by other hands.Why is Fargo called Fargo? ›
Even though the movie takes place mostly in Brainerd, Minnesota, the Coen brothers decided to call it Fargo, which is in North Dakota, just because they liked the sound of it for a title better than Brainerd, which "was not cool enough." Fargo is where Jerry Lundegaard meets the two hoods he hires to kidnap his wife.Why does Malvo like Lester? ›
"Malvo's primary motivation is he wants to see if can he turn a civilized person into an animal on some level," Hawley says. "He recognizes in Lester something he hasn't seen before. It's much more interesting than the end game on this witness protection thing.How much money was in the suitcase in Fargo? ›
Beneath it, he finds a briefcase that by then we know is filled with exactly $920,000 in cash. Series executive producer Noah Hawley says in his mind, Stavros finds the briefcase about a week after Carl, the character played by Steve Buscemi in the original Coen brothers film, buries it in the snow.Who gave away everything Fargo? ›
Jeremy's story is told entirely in a parable/flashback as told by Ari to Gus Grimly. He opens the paper one day to see that the world is full of misery. He decides to donate his entire fortune to a children's charity, but he does not think it is enough.Whose body was found in downtown Fargo? ›
Paul. FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Authorities arrested a man wanted for manslaughter and aggravated assault on Wednesday. Fargo Police say 58-year-old Roberto Garcia was arrested for his involvement in the death of 53-year-old Cirilo Contreras, who was found dead in downtown Fargo on Aug.
What was the answer to the riddle in Fargo? ›
Its answer to Malvo's riddle is that while it may be foolish to underestimate (like Bill) “the lengths people are capable of,” it's just as foolish to underestimate (like Malvo) the power of decency–even toward the undeserving.Is the deaf guy in Fargo really deaf? ›
Actor Russell Harvard, the kinetic presence behind Mr. Wrench, was born deaf. He's been acting since he was a child.Which season of Fargo is the best? ›
Although every season of Fargo is great, Fargo season 2 is by far the series' best.Why did Jerry need the money in Fargo? ›
Jerry was inventing phony car sales that needed phony loans. He collected money from the people, but when he sent the paperwork to GMAC, the loan company, he purposely blurred the VIN numbers of the supposed cars. That way GMAC was unable to verify the sales of the cars and how much of a loan the buyers needed.What happened in Sioux Falls Fargo? ›
Prior to the episode, commentators drew attention to a real-life homicide that occurred at Sioux Falls in 1973, in which three men impersonating police officers shot and killed four male teenagers, while a fifth victim claimed to have been sexually assaulted by one of the perpetrators.What happened to Jerry Lundegaard wife? ›
|Family:||Wade Gustafson - Father Jerry Lundegaard - Husband Scotty Lundegaard - Son|
|Died:||February 3-5 or afterwards 1987|
|Fate:||Killed by Gaear Grimsrud|
Gaear's fate is left unknown, although he most likely got sent to prison for life, as Minnesota doesn't use the death penalty. Gaear's total body count in the film is five. He kills the Minnesota State Trooper, the two teenage hunters, Jean and Carl.What is the point of Mike in Fargo? ›
Mike's jovial tone hides the darkness beneath his surface, which is thematically relevant to the film as a whole. A few scenes before lunch with Mike, Marge had stopped by a car dealership to talk with Jerry (William H. Macy) regarding her murder investigation.Who is the greatest butcher of all time? ›
Dario Cecchini - Meet the World's Most Famous Butcher | Tuscany Now & More.Who was the first female butcher? ›
|Known for||Sled dog racing|
Is The Butcher movie based on a true story? ›
Indian Predator: the Butcher of Delhi is based on a true story. A riveting, gripping, and disturbing tale of crime, this show is based on the true story of Chandrakant Jha, who committed a series of murders that shook Delhi between 1998 to 2007.What did Jerry do with Wade's body? ›
After his death, Jerry conceals Wade's body in the trunk of his car and drives away with it.What is the last line of Fargo? ›
“Two more months.” The last line of Fargo refers to the impending arrival of a baby: the countdown to a new life being brought into the world.What happened to the briefcase of money in Fargo? ›
In fact, it's the same snowy field and fence where kidnapper Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi) buried close to $1 million in cash for later retrieval. Carl met an untimely demise, but now fans know what happened to that money — Stavros Milos (Oliver Platt) used it on his way to becoming the Supermarket King.Why does Fargo say true story? ›
“We wanted to make a movie just in the genre of a true story movie," he said. "You don't have to have a true story to make a true story movie.” In essence, the Coens wanted to the film to carry the feeling of being a sordid true-crime drama, even if the events being presented never actually happened.What is the true story that inspired Fargo? ›
Like the movie, the claim that the Fargo series is a true story is false. Executive producer Noah Hawley has said of the series, “it's all just made up.” The fact that it's all made up is true for every season of Fargo.Why was Marge pregnant in Fargo? ›
Marge married to Norm Gunderson after meeting on the force with him. Norm decided to quit his job to take up painting and ice fishing and became pregnant with her first child in July 1986.What case was Fargo based on? ›
Fargo was inspired by true events
There was no murder. It was a guy defrauding the GM Finance Corporation at some point." Clearly the Coens took this fraudulent case from the 1960s or 1970s and applied it to William H. Macy's character, Jerry Lundegaard.
When will Fargo season five be released? No release date has been announced, but the new season is expected to arrive in 2023. Filming is already well underway, having begun in October 2022.
Was the ransom money in Fargo ever found? ›
But what happened to the money? After Carl's brutal execution at the hands of his partner, he was never able to retrieve his stash. That's right — he left almost $1 million buried in the snow at the side of a road in the middle of nowhere. Of course, that's not the end of the story.What happened in 1987 in Minnesota? ›
A highly localized and nearly stationary severe thunderstorm complex, barely larger than a typical Minnesota county, lashed the Twin Cities area for over eight hours on July 23-24, 1987, producing tornadoes, thunderstorm winds of 60-80 mph, and prolonged extreme rainfall rates that led to the most significant flash- ...Who hid the money in Fargo? ›
In fact, it's the same snowy field and fence where kidnapper Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi) buried close to $1 million in cash for later retrieval. Carl met an untimely demise, but now fans know what happened to that money — Stavros Milos (Oliver Platt) used it on his way to becoming the Supermarket King.Why did Lundegaard need the money in Fargo? ›
Jerry was inventing phony car sales that needed phony loans. He collected money from the people, but when he sent the paperwork to GMAC, the loan company, he purposely blurred the VIN numbers of the supposed cars. That way GMAC was unable to verify the sales of the cars and how much of a loan the buyers needed.Why did Jerry have his wife kidnapped in Fargo? ›
Apparently, Jerry has hired the men to kidnap his wife in order to get a ransom from his wife's father. Jerry is a fast talker and doesn't want to say much about why he needs the money, but he reveals that his father-in-law is wealthy and that he plans on asking for $80,000 and keeping the other half for himself.