Writer and director John Sayles brings his individual style to tell a tale of the struggle to unionize
the coal fields of southern West Virginia. Using motifs typical of the western film – the laconic sheriff,
the hired guns and the climactic shoot out – the film pits local miners against outside scabs and enforcers
and local traditions against outside ideas. West Virginia's own Hazel Dickens lends her voice and music to
ground us in those verdant, isolated hollows.
This is a special presentation in celebration of Shepherdstown's 250th anniversary.
Rated PG-13 for violence.
Post-film discussion led by Davitt McAteer, Shepherdstown resident and former Assistant Secretary
for Mine Safety and Health at the Department of Labor.
About the writer and director John Sayles
Other background on the film
A selection of reviews of the film