A Man in Full: Is Turpmtine an Actual Plantation?

In Netflix’s drama series ‘A Man in Full,’ Charlie Croker takes his fellow businessman Herb Richman to his plantation, Turpmtine, to convince him to help him financially as the former faces the potential foreclosure of his business assets. Croker maintains Turpmtine as his quail hunting destination. The tens of thousands of acres are spread out in the region for him to hunt, spend time with his horses, and deal with snakes. Turpmtine’s attractions include a mini zoo dedicated just to snakes. Like the real estate mogul, the plantation is a fictional establishment Tom Wolfe conceived for the novel of the same name. Still, it has several counterparts in reality!

Turpmtine’s Real-Life Inspirations

Even though Turpmtine is a fictional estate, there are numerous plantations spanning tens of thousands of acres in Georgia that belong to high-profile businessmen. Tom Wolfe, who wrote the series’ source novel, created the fictitious estate after visiting several of these plantations with his friends Mack and Mary Rose Taylor. Like Croker, Mack Taylor was a popular developer based in Atlanta and the mastermind behind renowned establishments such as Perimeter Center and Buckhead Plaza. “I took Tom down to South Georgia to see some of the plantations down there. They are awesome pieces of land,” Mack told Vanity Fair.

These plantations were owned by some of the wealthiest businessmen who ruled the country’s commerce realm back in the late 20th century. “The biggest one was owned by Mr. Woodruff, the [late chairman] of Coca-Cola. Then there’s Tom Cousins’ plantation, Nonami, and Nila Plantation, which was owned by John Olin of Olin Industries, and Pineland, which is owned by the Mellons. Tom just looked at the land and the homes, which are just great Old South, and I could tell he was very excited,” Mack added. While visiting one of these estates, Wolfe even saw a stallion and mare breeding, laying the foundation for Croker and Herb Richman watching a similar act in the novel and its adaptation.

After visiting these plantations, Wolfe was convinced that these estates were the epitomes of luxury. “Here are places that are fifteen, twenty, twenty-five thousand acres, devoted solely to shooting quail. […] It is the largest-scale expenditure of money for sheer luxuriousness that I am aware of in this country,” Wolfe told Vanity Fair in the same interview. The impression these lands left behind on the author paved the way for the birth of Turpmtine. The writer wanted to explore Croker’s lifestyle through his bond with the plantation, which is also evident in the Netflix adaptation as the protagonist decides against letting go of the property even when he hits rock bottom.

What makes Turpmtine unique is its name. Even though the series doesn’t reveal why the plantation is called the same, the novel provides insight into its history. The workers who were employed in the plantation in the 19th century, described by Croker as “Turpmtine Niggers,” pronounced the word “turpentine,” the farm’s main product, as “turpmtine.” ‘A Man in Full’ was primarily filmed in Atlanta, Georgia. The fictional Turpmtine is seemingly a property located in or around the city, even though its “identity” is not disclosed. Through the plantation, the show opens a window into the local history of opulence undoubtedly.

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