Gordon Parks' adaptation of his own novel The Learning Tree stars Kyle Johnson as Newt, a black teenager living in 1920s Kansas. He is an intelligent even-tempered young man who meets the many racial prejudices he faces with composure and pride. His best friend Marcus (Alex Clarke) is hot-headed and prone to react emotionally when confronted with life's problems. Newt gets into a difficult situation when he witnesses a murder and must decide if he should come forward to clear the man being framed for the crime. Doing so would forever change his own life, as well as Marcus'. In 1989, the film was selected to the National Film Registry in the Library of Congress.