Murder in the Heartland

Murder in the Heartland
Genre Drama
Written by Michael O'Hara
Directed by Robert Markowitz
Starring Tim Roth
Fairuza Balk
Brian Dennehy
Randy Quaid
Renée Zellweger
Kate Reid
Milo O'Shea
Rondi Reed
Theme music composer Patrick Williams
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Michael G. Larkin
Cinematography Ronald Victor Garcia
Editor(s) David Beatty
Scott Vickrey
Running time 157 minutes
Production company(s) O'Hara-Horowitz Productions
Distributor ABC
Original network ABC
Original release May 3, 1993

Murder in the Heartland is a television miniseries that aired on ABC in 1993. It was based on the 195758 murder spree carried out by 19-year-old Charles Starkweather throughout Nebraska and Wyoming. The first half of the miniseries covers the murders. The second half covers the trials of Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate, his 14-year-old girlfriend accomplice. Their increasingly disparate versions of events are contrasted as the trials unfold.

The film received strong praise from critics and multiple Emmy nominations.


The entire film was shot on location in and around McKinney and Dallas, Texas.

Brian Dennehy was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Special. Ronald Victor Garcia was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography.

An edited version of the production saw a limited release on VHS.

Other films based on the Starkweather story

Previously inspired by the Starkweather story were The Sadist, a 1963 film by James Landis, Terrence Malick's 1973 movie Badlands, and the title song from Bruce Springsteen's 1982 album Nebraska. The 1994 film Natural Born Killers was also partly inspired by these events. The 2004 film Starkweather directed by Bryon Werner, starring Brent Taylor as Charles Starkweather and Shannon Lucio as Caril-Ann Fugate is also based on the real life events of Starkweather.

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