Shows that, despite a traumatic childhood, an early volatile lifestyle, and being a victim of racism, it's possible to achieve success and happiness. Recognizes the importance of loyalty, unconditional love, and unyielding support. Presents a vivid picture of both overt and concealed racism in early 20th-century America.
Numerous fistfights and scuffles, some prompted by women fending off male predators. A knife attack. Domestic rage and violence. Racist acts: Hooded white men threaten to set fire to a large tent filled with African-Americans; white men with rifles and shotguns shoot wildly at a passing train. Multiple flashbacks reveal a hysterical little girl who is frightened and furious at an unseen, punishing adult.
Sensuality, sexuality, and infidelity are important to the story. Leading character is bisexual. Lesbian and heterosexual sex scenes include: kissing, embracing, foreplay, and, in one instance, exuberant intercourse. Partial nudity, including bare breasts.
Frequent obscenities, swearing, and name-calling: "f--k," "hell," "s--t," "c--k," "damn," "ass," "bitch."
Pervasive drinking and drunkenness. Heroine becomes dependent on alcohol. Smoking throughout, including instances of what appears to be marijuana.