One is from a Northern industrial family, one from a Southern plantation family. They're West Point graduates whose tried-and-true loyalty helps them survive the Mexican-American War. But their bond faces sterner tests. The issues dividing North and South can also set friend against friend. John Jakes' bestseller about the pre-Civil War decades thunders to the screen in a lavish six-part miniseries presented by award-winning executive producer David L. Wolper. In all, 140 actors, numerous extras, 100 production workers, 8,700 pieces of wardrobe and 15,000 set decorations and hand props were used in the five-month, five-state location shoot that brings history - and gripping drama - thrillingly alive.