Earl K. Long, three-time governor of Louisiana, is on the stump campaigning—the thing he does as well as anyone who ever lived. Barred by law from running again, he is still determined to run for reelection. His aide, Joe Arthur, and his wife, Blanche, are concerned about his health and behavior.
Uncle Earl is also in personal crisis. As Joe Arthur keeps him on schedule, he hears the voice of his childhood nanny, Auntie Alice, calling; he recalls his courtship of Blanche; his assassinated brother, Huey. A chance encounter with a young boy reminds him of his lonely, childless condition.
He is still "Uncle Earl," wheeling and dealing, but the past is closing in. Obsessed with his brother's fate, he does battle for his political ideals, fighting for the right of African-Americans to vote in the still-segregated South of 1960.
Hospitalized in Galveston against his will, his deterioration concerns Blanche. As governor, however, he cannot be confined. Joe Arthur engineers his release and Earl is off on a hectic recuperative tour of the West.
After his reelection bid fails, his restless energy is spent partying in New Orleans' French Quarter until a final, redemptive run for Congress. His final race is successful, but he has spent himself in the effort. In death, he returns to Auntie Alice and the rural roots which were the underpinnings of his politics and his life. Area staging. Approximate running time: 1 hour, 45 minutes.