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- Set in the Appalachian Mountains at the onset of the Great Depression, this drama chronicles the emotional and physical hardships endured by the families of three brothers after the death of their mother. Two years after her death, the family organizes a belated memorial service. The family now includes father Big Jim, his young pregnant wife, and brothers Earl J., Johnny, and Jarvis, who have three wives and fourteen children among them. Times are so hard that everyone is moving back into Big Jim's house. Johnny returns unemployed from Detroit, where he has been working for a year; Jarvis's family moves back from town because he has been laid off by the local coal company; and the main sources of income are Earl J.'s disability checks and Big Jim's income from the sale of his illegal liquor. The family's underlying tensions are made worse by poverty and the cramped living situation. The family arguments center around Earl J., who issues criticisms of everyone and vents anger and bitterness about the region's economic problems. Just before the memorial, Earl J. explodes into a violent monologue about life's injustices and refuses to attend the service. However, just when life seemed at its lowest, the family pulls together for the memorial service and makes plans to weather their hardships. (Paley Center for Media)