American Experience (1988– )
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Troublesome Creek: A Midwestern 

Struggling to keep the family farm in the family.

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2 wins. See more awards »


Episode credited cast:
Bob Blankenship ...
Himself - Auctioneer
Dean Eilts ...
Himself - Auctioneer
Marge Harold ...
James Jordan Jr. ...
Gini Jordan ...
Grace Jordan ...
Jesse Jordan ...
Jiggs Jordan ...
Joe Jordan ...
Jon Jordan ...
Kim Jordan ...
Mary Jane Jordan ...
Pam Jordan ...
Russel Jordan ...


The Jordan family has farmed in Iowa for generations. But the farm crisis of the 1980s and 1990s catches up with them, and they are in danger of losing the farm. One of the daughters, a documentary filmmaker, comes back home to document the extraordinary efforts the family makes to keep their farm. Written by yortsnave

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Where one family takes a stand.




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Release Date:

16 January 1995 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Edited from Troublesome Creek: A Midwestern (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

Oscar-nominated and deserving, too!
18 October 1999 | by (Chiang Mai, Thailand) – See all my reviews

As out-of-step and controversial as the nominating committees for the Documentary branch of the Academy Awards are (failing to nominate notable documentaries like "Roger & Me", "Paris is Burning", and "Hoop Dreams" among countless others), they did good when they put "Troublesome Creek: a Midwestern" into the final five.

This is a heart-crushing, anger-inspiring, and all-too-real portrayal of the changing priorities in the United States, in regard to the role of family, farming, and small-town life. At the same time, it's an incredibly warm and even at times humorous film. At all times it's fascinating.

There is an incredible scene about a third through set at a livestock auction. If, like me, you've spent most of your life living in decidedly non-rural places you'll just be amazed to get a glimpse into a ritual that only decades ago would have been familiar to most Americans. Things have really changed, which is what this film is about. There is just a part of us that has an unwavering desire to fight to save a piece of earth, especially if we've got strong emotional attachments to the patch in question. At the same time, we're not merely fighting for a piece, we're fighting for our entire world as we know it.

The stark, folksy yet modern music of Sheldon Mirowitz is the perfect compliment to the direction, editing and cinematography of Jeanne Jordan and Stephen Ascher who, it should be noted, are not impartial documentarians; they're members of the family whose farm is threatened! The expansive Iowa landscapes are perfectly captured (I did live in that state for a few years myself), and if you thought the snowy frames added an extra sense of urgency to "Fargo", imagine how it could enhance the tension knowing the story's a true one! (For those of you fooled by the Coens' claim that their film was based on reality as well, consider that bubble bursted)

The only thing wrong with this movie is the fact that it's burdened by such an unwieldy, uncatchy, obscure title. But if you see the film you'll understand that its really the perfect title for this movie. Film buffs will be especially appreciative.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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