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The Slaughter Rule
The Slaughter Rule is an independent film, released in 2002 and starring Ryan Gosling and David Morse. The movie, set in contemporary Montana, explores the relationship between a small-town high school football player and his troubled coach.

Roy Chutney (Ryan Gosling) is a high school senior in the fictional Montana town of Blue Springs. Roy does not have an especially close relationship with his mother Evangelline (Kelly Lynch), and he has not seen his father in years. That does not prevent Roy from feeling emotionally devastated when he learns that his father has killed himself, and Roy's self-esteem takes a beating when he is cut from the high school football team shortly afterward.

Roy whiles away his time swilling beer with his best friend, Tracy Two Dogs (Eddie Spears), and falling into a romance with Skyla (Clea Du Vall), a barmaid at a local tavern, but it seems Roy's short time on the high school gridiron impressed Gideon Ferguson (David Morse), a local character who coaches a unsanctioned high school six man football team when he is not delivering newspapers or trying to score a gig singing country songs at nearby honky-tonks.

Gid thinks Roy has potential, and asks him to join his team; encouraged by Gid's belief in him, Roy agrees, and he persuades Tracy to tag along. While playing hardscrabble six-man football helps restore Roy's self-confidence, he finds it does not answer his questions about his future or his relationship with Skyla, and when Gid's overwhelming interest in Roy begins to lend credence to the rumors that Gid is gay, Roy starts to wonder just why he was asked to join the team.

The title of the film comes from the term "slaughter rule", a less-used alternative to the more commonly-known "mercy rule". This rule provides for an athletic competition's premature conclusion, when one team is ahead of the other by a certain number of points before game's end, so as to avoid the losing team being further humiliated by the winning team. An example is the 45-point rule used in six-man football competition in Texas.
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