What the movie got right
So what actually happened that the movie depicted? According to the LA Times, there really was a standoff between Sylvester Carrier (Don Cheadle) and the White mob. Wright, played by Jon Voight, did help women and children escape from the town on a train in the middle of the night. Sarah Carrier, Sylvester’s mother (played by Esther Rolle) really was killed by a man she nursed in childhood. One man was shot in front of a local sheriff and another man was forced to dig his own grave.