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The Women
Raise the kids, keep the books, burn off the steam, cheer the winner -- the women who surround the protagonists of AT ANY PRICE live roles as constrained as the men. Irene, Henry's wife, played by KIM DICKENS, seems like the embodiment of wholesome family values, but when the Whipple world is threatened, her moral sense proves surprisingly elastic. "It's not just Henry and Dean who get in trouble," explains Bahrani. "If the family's in trouble, Irene would lose everything too. Her children would lose everything. Who is prepared to do that? It's very challenging to say, "Yes, I'm prepared to give up every thing for the truth." And is it really going to make a difference? To what lengths will a parent go to save their family? God know how anyone would answer in that situation."

Irene may be Henry's backbone, but Meredith (HEATHER GRAHAM), the town beauty who never managed to get out of town, is Henry's escape valve. "Talking to farmers," recalls Bahrani, "I sometimes heard about infidelity because you're dealing with small towns and occasional boredom. Everyone would know about it and it was just accepted because what else were you going to do? Get divorced? And remarried to whom?"

Perhaps the most optimistic outlook is reserved for teenage Cadence, played as an unassuming beauty with native smarts and an innocent heart by newcomer MAIKA MONROE: she just might follow Meredith's advice and get out of town.

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