Dalton Trumbo is a talented screenwriter. However his active membership in the Communist Party draws the contempt of anti-Soviet entertainment-industry figures such as columnist Hedda Hopper and actor John Wayne. Trumbo is one of 10 screenwriters subpoenaed to testify before the United States Congress regarding alleged Communist propaganda in Hollywood films. In 1950, Trumbo serves eleven months in prison where he meets J. Parnell Thomas who was convicted of tax evasion. As the Hollywood Blacklist expands to exclude more communists and communist sympathizers from working in the industry, Trumbo and his comrades are abandoned by Democratic actor Edward G. Robinson and producer Buddy Ross, who disavow them to protect their careers. Trumbo’s prison term eventually finishes, but he remains blacklisted and his finances and family life become increasingly strained. He resorts to giving the screenplay for Roman Holiday to his friend Ian McLellan Hunter, to take credit and a share of the money, and eventually the Academy Award for Best Story. He goes to work as a pseudonymous screenwriter for the low-budget King Brothers Productions. Over time, industry suspicion of Trumbo’s ghostwriting develops, but he is careful not to confirm it. In 1960, actor Kirk Douglas recruits him to write the screenplay for Spartacus. What follows next is a story about principles and how principles can make or brake you.