Production still from The River Niger, 1973
Joseph A. Walker (Playwright)
23 March – 25 November, 1973
Johnny Williams is a working house painter and amateur poet who is trying to live in a contemporary ghetto in Watts, Los Angeles, California. Though he is trying to provide for his almost stable family, times are hard. Johnny's main pride and joy, his son Jeff just returned from U.S. Air Force flight school, where he finally reveals that he flunked out, causing great disillusionment. This film follows Johnny's struggle and a few who try to help, including his physician friend Dr. Dudley Stanton, who purchases Johnny's poems while treating his ailing wife Mattie, whose cancer is recurring. When Johnny's son kills a local gang member, and the gang shoots a police officer, the situation escalates to a standoff with the police and another shootout in Johnny's house.