There is a great movie to be made about the life of Scott Joplin; unfortunately, this Motown production, their second honoring important African-American musical figures (LADY SINGS THE BLUES was the first), is only a good one. The film follows Joplin (Billy Dee Williams) and his friend
and fellow piano player Louis Chauvin (Clifton Davis) as they tinkle the ivories in early 20th-century America, gaining the attention of John Stark (Art Carney), who publishes Joplin's songs, winning the composer some measure of fame and success as ragtime becomes a national fad. Joplin marries
Belle (Margaret Avery) and settles down in St. Louis, but an earlier assignation returns ...