Appalachia: A History Of Mountains And People
Mountain RevolutionsSeries Website »
Episode Guide »
Episode three of this series about the natural and human history of Appalachia relates how land grabbers poisoned a region that was once renowned mainly for its restful spas and noble character. When the chaos of the Civil War tore apart the agrarian way of life, Appalachian society was left ripe for plunder. Speculators spread through every timber-rich and mineral-infused hollow, making deals. Mysterious courthouse fires destroyed property records, and consolidators evicted people who couldn't prove ownership of their land. The region quickly became a study in contradiction: writers of the time vilified the mountaineers as ignorant hillbillies who were violent, lazy and uncivilized, but at the same time said they would "make wonderful mill hands, miners and wood ticks." As ancient trees were felled and coal was dug to fuel the nation's booming economy, Appalachia's land, people, wildlife and culture were changed forever. Academy Award-winning actress Sissy Spacek narrates.