Harlan County War [DVD] [2000]

The true story of one of the most contentious labor disputes of the 1970s is the basis for this made-for-cable drama. In 1973, many of the men of Harlan County, Kentucky, were employed by Brookside Mining, who operated a number of coal mines. Brookside paid its employees meager wages for dangerous, backbreaking work, and also controlled housing and retail sales in the area, boarding its workers in shacks without central heating or indoor plumbing, and selling them food and clothing at inflated prices. Warren Jakopovich (Stellan Skarsgard), an organizer for the United Mine Workers Association, encouraged Brookside's workers to join the union and go on strike for fair wages and better working conditions. Many of the miners simply couldn't afford the loss of income that a strike would mean, but when two workers died as a result of Brookside's willful ignorance of safety standards, most of Harlan County's mine workers finally went on strike. A judge formerly employed by Brookside handed down an order forbidding the workers to picket the mine sites, but Ruby Kincaid (Holly Hunter), whose husband Silas (Ted Levine) was fired for protesting dangerous conditions and whose father was attacked by scab laborers, organized the wives of striking miners to picket in their place. The Harlan County War was based on the same strike portrayed in the Academy Award-winning documentary Harlan County, USA.
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Overview

Special Features

  • Interviews with Holly Hunter, Stellan Skarsgard, and Tony Bill [director]
  • Biographies of Holly Hunter and Stellan Skarsgard
  • Background information on the origins and achievements of the United Mine Workers of America [UMWA] Union
  • Scene selection
  • Weblink
  • Spanish-language track

Synopsis

Harlan County War
The true story of one of the most contentious labor disputes of the 1970s is the basis for this made-for-cable drama. In 1973, many of the men of Harlan County, Kentucky, were employed by Brookside Mining, who operated a number of coal mines. Brookside paid its employees meager wages for dangerous, backbreaking work, and also controlled housing and retail sales in the area, boarding its workers in shacks without central heating or indoor plumbing, and selling them food and clothing at inflated prices. Warren Jakopovich (Stellan Skarsgard), an organizer for the United Mine Workers Association, encouraged Brookside's workers to join the union and go on strike for fair wages and better working conditions. Many of the miners simply couldn't afford the loss of income that a strike would mean, but when two workers died as a result of Brookside's willful ignorance of safety standards, most of Harlan County's mine workers finally went on strike. A judge formerly employed by Brookside handed down an order forbidding the workers to picket the mine sites, but Ruby Kincaid (Holly Hunter), whose husband Silas (Ted Levine) was fired for protesting dangerous conditions and whose father was attacked by scab laborers, organized the wives of striking miners to picket in their place. The Harlan County War was based on the same strike portrayed in the Academy Award-winning documentary Harlan County, USA. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Holly Hunter
    Holly Hunter - Ruby Kincaid
  • Ted Levine
    Ted Levine - Silas Kincaid
  • Wayne Robson
    Wayne Robson - Tug Jones
  • Jennifer Irwin
    Jennifer Irwin
  • Cliff Saunders
    Cliff Saunders
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