Film: 3062

Farming + Rural Life | 1930 | Sound | B/W


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Rural Poverty in the USA 1930's. The Depression.

Cowboys round up cattle on the open range. Good shot of a cowboy on a white horse against a clear sky. Lots of shots of cattle grazing the grasslands. More cowboys rounding up more cattle on bigger prairie. Close up of cattle being herded into pens as commentary says that cattle gave way to cropping. Dramatic reconstruction of a wagon train and the homestead race for land (possibly scenes from the feature film Cimarron (1930) about homesteading in Oklahoma from 1890 to 1915). Close up of wooden mallet knocking fence pole into ground. Horse and plough till the soil. Settler breaks turf between his hands. Good shot of freshly ploughed land and farmhouse. Close ups of healthy looking wheat. Harvesting with horse drawn harvester. Close up of steam-driven thresher/harvester pulled by a team of horses. A man bags grain on top of the machine. In the distance a steam train puffs against a dramatic sky. Brilliant shot of a farmhouse with a disused wagon wheel in the foreground.

Close up of horse and plough tilling dry soil. A small unhealthy looking lone wheat plant grows. Woman sweeps the dust off her steps. Great shots of plough attempting to plough the dusty dry land. The farmer and his wife look to the sky. Baby plays in the sandy soil next to a disused plough. Tank comes over the hill and fires one round. Newspaper headline announces the declaration of World War One and the resultant soar in wheat prices. To dramatic Soviet-style music in a montage sequence, a farmer on a tractor tills dusty dry soil, shells explode, newspaper headlines chart the progress of the war and wheat prices, three tractors then a convoy till the soil, mechanical combine harvesters bring in wheat, grain mountains, a container ship on a river with the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco in the background (the bridge was not finished until 1937, so it must be under construction but this is not really visible in this shot), cargo boat leaves New York harbour, more tractors in formation, tanks fighting in formation, American troops march past waving ticker-tape crowds surrounded by American flag bunting, six tractors drive into the sunset, wheat fields, combine harvesters surrounded by a n enormous crop.

Newspaper printing press, headlines - "Service Men!! Free Land!! Government homesteads in the Plains!!" etc. More shots of combine harvesters in the Wheatlands. More shots of noble machines bringing in the harvest silhouetted against the sky. Wheat harvesting by night. Montage of grain silos being filled with wheat including close up, industrial chimneys smoking, ticker-tape machine spitting out paper, black band member manically playing a cymbal, ticker tape machine starts going crazy, falls on to floor and smashes. Animal skulls (perhaps a sheep or a goat) lie against parched cracked soil. Rusting combine harvesters, an enamel coffee jug, tractors and farm equipment lie abandoned. A spider scurries across sun-baked earth. Dried-up river beds. Barbed wire fences. A melted rubber tyre and car jack in dusty soil. Panting dog lying in the dirt. Dry parched landscape. Close up of boots walking through the dust. More abandoned farm machinery. Wind blows dust across plain. Windmill turns in the wind. Farmer looks to sky hopefully. Electric power lines swing in the wind. Lone horse on a desolate landscape.

Dust storm blowing up in background. Child runs barefoot across a dusty farmyard. Dust storm begins. Children run across a street. Farmer runs across a dusty farmyard. Horizon shots of dust clouds forming. Repeated shots of the barren wind swept plains of America's dustbowl. Interior of farmhouse (a room with a fireplace) filling with dust. A still weather vane. Farms buried by sand. Farmers trying to dig the sand away. A sad-looking young boy and girl watch this in a kind of "noble worker Soviet-style" manner. The girl and her father pack possessions into the back of a trailer. The children sit on the back of the trailer and the family leave. More shots of the dust bowl looking like a sandy desert with remnants of wheat crop. Car with trailer travels across the prairie. More barren land ruined by "reckless cultivation". A convoy of cars drive down an unsealed gravel road. A father and baby sit outside a tent, the mother and another child come out and stand behind them. More cars loaded with furniture drive past two dustbowl farmers, a man sitting outside a tent. Man brushes dust off his jacket while another farmer looks on.

Women unload mattresses and furniture from a trailer outside a tent. Two men sit outside a tent, one whittles at a piece of wood with a knife. A windmill lies on the ground, against a wicker chair, with broken sails. Deserted wooden shacks. Pan across a desolate landscape of prairie, trees without foliage, leafless branches silhouetted against the sky.

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