Jon Avnet's The War is set in the rural south and brimming with lessons on social consciousness, much like his previous effort, Fried Green Tomatoes (1991). During the summer of 1970 in backwoods Mississippi, Stephen Simmons (Kevin Costner) is struggling to be a breadwinner for his family while still suffering post-traumatic stress disorder from his service in the Vietnam War. His wife Lois (Mare Winningham) provides most of the family income. Stephen gets a job in a mine and saves a friend who has been injured, helping him erase his guilt over abandoning another friend during a firefight in Vietnam. Meanwhile, the Simmons children, Stu (Elijah Wood) and Lidia (Lexi Randall) are feuding with an even poorer family of neighbors, the Lipnickis, over access to a tree fort that Stu and Lidia built. Mr. Lipnicki (Raynor Scheine) is drunken and abusive and helps escalate the disagreement into a major battle for the fort.