- Paul Thomas Anderson
- United States
The story opens in 1898 in the New Mexico wilderness. A man named Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) works his silver mine. After blasting out the small mine with dynamite, Plainview falls and breaks his leg. After finding the silver ore, he drags himself out of the mine and into town to sell it. He hires a crew, including a man caring for an infant son. When the silver lode plays out, Plainview discovers oil in the mine. He designs and builds a pump and recreates himself as an oil man. The young father dies in a drilling accident, Planview adopts the young boy as his own and names him H.W. Nine years later, Plainview is a successful if still somewhat minor oil man. He has several productive wells around New Mexico and, with H.W. (Dillon Freasier), travels the state to buy the drilling rights to private property.