Did you ever wonder what happened to Motel and Tzeitel when they left Anatevka? It’s simple! They came to America!
In 1909 a young Russian-Jewish couple lands at Ellis Island. He makes a little mistake; uses the Yiddish word “fergessen” and gets a new American name – Ferguson. Of course, his first American friend, a union man named Dooley, thinks Ferguson is Irish. Even though he’s not, they become best friends.
Our hero is a tailor, but he’s also an inventor – he’s created a special kind of bobbin for the sewing machine – he can sew faster and better than anyone. He wants to start his own business. His wife – she simply wants to be a mother. But nothing is easy. He starts out working long hours in a sweatshop. When he tries to be a “good American” and help the new Garment Workers Union – he immediately gets fired. (He also makes a bad enemy – Joe Stern, the antisemitic foreman of the shop.) So now they work at home, even longer hours than before.
When he finally does open his own little shop, someone throws a rock through the store window. But he keeps going. His wife thinks he doesn’t love her anymore because he’s so pre-occupied with “the business.” So, she tries to help. When Joe Stern (the antisemite) attempts to destroy the store, she tries to protect it. She must physically defend herself and almost loses the precious child she’s been carrying. But the baby is saved, and the shop is saved, and our young couple is helped by a colorful assortment of friends and neighbors who have their own American “dreams.”