NEVADA EASY - - A TV Mini-Series created by Burton Peretsky
A full NEVADA EASY treatment with synopses of all four two-hour episodes and the complete 104-page screenplay for Episode I, "It Was Murder!" are available upon request.
Contact Burt Peretsky at email@example.com or
Call Burt at 781-828-4714.
Nevada Easy --Copyright & Registered, Writers Guild of America.
In the spirit of Rich Man Poor Man, Roots, Centennial, Shogun, The Thorn Birds, Winds of War and John Adams, Nevada Easy is a sweeping historical mini-series that relates the saga of the powerful (and fictional) Jericho family of Nevada, going back five generations and set against the turbulent history of that state as well as northern California in the Gold Rush days and even Russian Alaska.
Nevada Easy is also the name of the largest chain of casino hotels in the world, run today by the last surviving member of the wealthy side of the Jericho family, the glamorous but tough-as-nails Queen of Las Vegas, Victoria Jericho.
The secret of the Nevada Easy fortune unfolds in Episode I -- two brothers are prospecting in 1859 in Washoe Territory (Northern Nevada), near what is now Reno. Together, they discover the richest lode of silver in history. That night, alone on the mountainside, they revel in their find, drinking themselves drunk. Old rivalries and jealousies flare, and they begin to fight. The older brother Zebulon takes a rock and strikes his brother Ezekiel dead. Two weeks after his brother's funeral, Zebulon returns to the site of the discovery and files the claim as if he had found the silver by himself. He names his claim the "Nevada E-Z" -- "E" for his late brother Ezekiel and "Z" for his own name, Zebulon. Zebulon's (not Ezekiel's) heirs share in the huge wealth that the silver generates, and his sons and grandsons use the fortune to become railroad barons, wealthy ranchers, and finally in the 20th and 21st Centuries, owners of the Nevada Easy Casinos.
Present-day Reno newspaper reporter Lee Jericho, the last of the poor side of the Jericho family, discovers Zebulon's previously unknown confession, in which the guilt-ridden murderer decrees that after his death, BOTH sides of the family ought to share equally in the Nevada Easy wealth. Also in the present day, Dian DeLeo, the young and sensual daughter of Arizona's nationally respected governor finds out that she was actually given up for adoption at birth by a woman identified only as "L. Jericho of Nevada." The young woman sets out to find her birth parents and becomes involved in the Jericho family fight, and -- with her new lover, Lee Jericho -- she and he encounter a series of deadly confrontations with a mobster determined to maintain his behind-the-scenes hold on Victoria and her Nevada Easy casino empire.
Part of the appeal of Nevada Easy lies in its inside look at the casino gaming industry from its 1931 birth in Reno and Las Vegas to its status 80 years later in the 21st Century as an enormous, global revenue-generator. Without a doubt, casino gaming is hugely popular - from sea to sea in America and in such casino hotspots as Macau (yes, China! Its now the worlds biggest casino locale.), Singapore, the Philippines, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as Western Europe and South Africa. By 2014, global casino gaming will generate a predicted $156.8 billion in revenue, with the U.S. alone generating $68.3 billion, the largest share of casino revenue of any region in the world.
Today, 40 U.S. states, alphabetically from Alabama to Wyoming, offer commercial or tribal casino gaming, and that number is growing year by year. Nevada casinos, although they were hit hard during the recent recession, are on the road to recovery, experiencing double-digit percentage growth in recent months. The states gaming industry is expected to increase its gaming revenue from $10.2 billion in 2009 to $12.5 billion by 2014.
The creator of Nevada Easy, Burt Peretsky is a former senior-level Las Vegas casino industry executive (former Director of Marketing for the legendary Sands Las Vegas and former Director of Corporate Publicity for Del Webb Hotels, then the owners of the three Nevada Sahara hotel/casino properties and the Las Vegas Mint Hotel/Casino). Peretsky also worked for ten years in major-market, network-affiliate television.
Characters in Nevada Easy
Lee Jericho -- Thirty-ish reporter on the staff of the (fictional) Reno World Journal, he is researching and writing a series of stories chronicling the rise of his wealthy Jericho cousins, when he discovers a never-before-revealed, to-be-read-after-my-death “confession” of his great-grand-uncle. The document proves that Lee’s great-grandfather was murdered by his own brother shortly after together they discovered the largest lode of silver in history. The murderer decrees that after his death, both his sons and his late brother’s sons should share equally in the fortune created by the silver mines. Lee decides to claim his rightful legacy, including part ownership of the Jericho family’s “Nevada Easy” casino empire, the largest chain of casinos in the world.
Dian DeLeo -- The 28-year-old beautiful, sexual and sensual daughter of the right-to-life, “Adoption, not Abortion” governor of Arizona, she finds out that she, herself, was adopted shortly after her birth by the governor and his wife. Dian sets out to find her birth parents, knowing only that her birth certificate lists her mother as “L Jericho” of Nevada and father, “Unknown.” The only L. Jericho she can find in Nevada is Lee, but of course, he’s a man. Lee invites her to come to Las Vegas, and together they begin their quests to align their respective realities with history and their respective places vis-à-vis the Jericho and Nevada Easy family fortune.
Victoria Jericho -- The fiery, early-fortyish unmarried owner of the Nevada Easy casino empire, she is the last surviving member of the wealthy side of the Jericho family. Smart, extremely outspoken, fierce and feared, she runs the casinos with an iron hand and is considered the “Queen of Las Vegas” and the most powerful person -- woman or man -- in the gaming industry. Nobody knows -- and she keeps the secret to her death -- that she is the birth mother of Dian DeLeo.
Gerry “Little Dog” Rosario -- Gerry’s late father “Big Dog” was the gangster and power-behind-the-scenes at the Nevada Easy casinos when Victoria’s father pioneered and ran the casino empire. Now “Little Dog” is the ominous and criminal element who seems to have enormous sway over Victoria and the happenings at the casinos. He’s certainly not happy to hear that Lee Jericho and Dian DeLeo may be making claims on the Nevada Easy casino empire.
Barney Jericho -- A casino industry pioneer, he created the Nevada Easy brand, first in 1931 in Reno, and then in Las Vegas, transforming the old-style “sawdust joints” into first-class destination resorts as the 20th Century progressed. He remains helpless when a vicious gangster (see next character) “takes over” his casinos, calling the shots on all important decisions.
Gerry “Big Dog” Rosario -- The menacing and controlling presence behind-the-scenes during the early years of the Nevada Easy casinos, he’s the representative in Las Vegas of the Miami mob. His skimming and scamming of the casinos emboldens him and his namesake son. Brutal and brazen, he at one point rapes Barney Jericho’s 15-year-old daughter, Victoria.
Victoria Jericho (as a teenager) -- Barney Jericho’s only child, at the age of 15, she is raped by Gerry “Big Dog” Rosario, becomes pregnant and is secretly sent to an unwed mothers “school” in Phoenix where she haves and gives up for adoption a baby girl. A clerk at the hospital where Victoria gives birth records the mother’s name as “V” Jericho on the birth certificate, but the “V” looks more like an “L” on the document.
Zebulon Jericho -- The older of two brothers who spend their teenage years with their extremely religious mother in California’s Gold Rush territory. About ten years later, he and his brother set out as prospectors in what is today Northern Nevada, where they discover the largest lode of silver in history. The night of their discovery, Zebulon - in a drunken rage - murders his brother. He will take his brother’s body back to California for burial, claiming that he died in an accident on the mountainside. Misunderstanding of a passage in Deuteronomy and believing that he is permitted to “take” his late brother’s wife, he brutally rapes her, suffering a bloody gash and lifelong scar on his cheek at her hands. He returns to Nevada, files the silver claim on his own. Only he and his side of the family share in the fabulous wealth the silver generates and, in turn, ranching and railroading in the 19th Century and -- in the 20th and 21 Centuries -- the Nevada Easy casinos. Zebulon becomes a driving force in the boomtown of Virginia City and in the political life of early Nevada. Before his death, he confesses his crimes to his minister and signs and entrusts to his minister’s keeping a document saying that after he dies, his wealth and what wealth follows should, for all times, be shared equally by both sides of his family -- his and his brother’s descendants. That document lies undiscovered until Lee Jericho finds it in Present Day.
Ezekiel Jericho -- The younger of the brothers and the “E” in the “Nevada E-Z” claim his brother has made. Ezekiel had married his brother Zebulon’s former girlfriend and was the father of two little sons. On the same day that he and his brother discover the largest lode of silver in history, Ezekiel is murdered by Zebulon.
Elizabeth Jericho (Ezekiel’s widow) -- A beautiful woman in her youth, she was the first love of Zebulon Jericho, but later married Zebulon’s brother Ezekiel, and they became parents of two sons. After Ezekiel’s death, she is brutally raped by Zebulon, and in the struggle, she grabs a piece of broken glass and gashes Zebulon’s cheek, giving him a permanent disfiguring scar.
Isaiah Jericho (Ezekiel’s and Elizabeth’s younger son) -- Never to have been an heir to his uncle Zebulon’s fortune, Isaiah nevertheless is given a superintendent’s job in the Nevada E-Z silver mines. In 1906, he learns from his dying mother that she had been raped as a young woman by Zebulon, and that she had given him that infamous scar on his cheek. Enraged, Isaiah breaks into Zebulon’s mansion and shoots and kills his elderly uncle. Isaiah has murdered one of the state’s most respected citizens and its largest employer; he is lynched by an angry mob and hung only a few yards away from the site of the discovery of the Nevada E-Z silver.
Michael Jericho (originally named Vitus Mikhailov) -- Vitus Mikhailov, as a 17-year-old Russian serf apprenticed as a carpenter, is taken with his masters aboard the British vessel, HMS Jericho, to the Russian colony of New Archangel in Alaska. There, he helps build a city once called “The Paris of the North Pacific.” Vitus falls in love and beds a beautiful fellow serf named Anna who is brutally beaten by their overseer. After the worst of those beatings one dark Alaskan night, Vitus attacks and kills the overseer. Fearing now for his own life, he says goodbye to Anna and escapes from Alaska as a stowaway aboard a Spanish merchant ship. At sea, bound for the Russian colony at California’s Fort Ross, the captain and crew discover him and threaten to throw him overboard, but he pays them off with gold he had taken from the dead overseer’s pocket and takes the name of Michael Jericho (after the British ship that took him to the New World). At Fort Ross, he meets and marries Sarah Beaumont, and they have two sons, Zebulon and Ezekiel. The small family is invited to join Captain John Sutter’s new Central California settlement, where carpenter Michael Jericho becomes second-in-charge of Sutter’s sawmill. Michael becomes involved in California’s Bear Flag Rebellion and becomes the only casualty. He is buried on the banks of the American River. Gold is discovered in 1849 at Sutter’s Mill, triggering the famous and frenzied California Gold Rush.
Igor Krimsky -- The brutal overseer of serfs at New Archangel, he torments his charges and often beats them with his horsewhip. One night, when the serf Anna forgets to add wood to the household’s fireplace, Krimsky erupts with anger and whips her brutally. This, in turn, enrages Anna’s lover Vitus, who attacks and kills Krimsky using Krimsky’s own whip.
Anna -- She is the young and beautiful serf who serves as the cook and maid in the overseer’s household. She is also the lover of fellow serf Vitus Mikhailov.
Sarah Beaumont Jericho -- The wife and later widow of Michael Jericho. She was raised as a Quaker in Pennsylvania before her family migrated to California in covered wagons. Deeply religious throughout her life, she forced her stringent beliefs on her husband, and after his death, she similarly raised her two children Zebulon and Ezekiel. During the Gold Rush years, she supported herself and her children by taking in laundry.
A complete treatment with synopses of all four Nevada Easy episodes and a completed screenplay of Episode I, "It Was Murder!", are available by contacting Burt Peretsky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-828-4714.