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Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa (2007)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 20 May 2008 (USA)
Twenty-Five miles from town, a million miles from mainstream society, a loose-knit community of radicals live in the desert, struggling to survive with little food, less water and no electricity, as they cling to their unique vision of the American dream.
5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Cowboy Cowboy ... Self
Gecko Gecko ... Self
Dreadie Jeff Dreadie Jeff ... Self
Dean Maher Dean Maher ... Self
Maine Maine ... Self
Austen Mason Austen Mason ... Self (as Austen)
Moonbow Moonbow ... Self
Mama Phyllis Mama Phyllis ... Self
Robbie Robbie ... Self
Stan Stan ... Self
Virginia Virginia ... Self


Twenty-Five miles from town, a million miles from mainstream society, a loose-knit community of eco-pioneers, teenage runaways, war veterans and drop-outs, live on the fringe and off the grid. Struggling to survive on little food, less water and no electricity, they cling to their unique vision of the American dream. Enthralling, action-packed and full of unforgettable characters.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


25 miles from town, a million miles from ordinary.




Not Rated

Did You Know?


Cowboy: We are not renegades out here. We are simply free people who want to remain that way.
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Tomorrow Will Be Better
Music & Lyrics by Barbara Lynn Jacobs
Performed by Tyler Burba
Produced by Christopher Libertino
Courtesy of Madison Moore Music
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User Reviews

Survivalist Lifestyle
17 November 2014 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

It's mostly the desire to be free ... free from big powerful institutions ... especially government. That's why many of the some four hundred residents live in this isolated spot in New Mexico. But life is hard ... because it's physical. You have to haul in your water, haul out your trash, chop your own firewood. There is no electricity or running water.

The population consists of a hodgepodge of disillusioned military vets, older people looking for peace, teenage runaways, and middle-aged hippies. Children are home schooled. Some food is grown or raised, and some is brought in from free food banks. When you want to take a bath you go to the river five miles away; instead of soap, people wash themselves with mud.

Community problems get resolved by a meeting of elders. The only real law is "be a good neighbor; otherwise, you're not allowed to be here", says one man. Guns are the choice of defense, and residents proudly show them off.

In this one-hour documentary, with fine visuals and reasonably fine sound, the viewer gets treated to an alternate lifestyle, one that most Americans would be physically unfit for, or too emotionally fearful to try. It's to the credit of these modern pioneers that they can survive and presumably be happy.

On the other hand, one could argue that although some may indeed choose to live this way, some may do so out of necessity because they do not have money. Ironically, these rural survivalists are not unlike heavily in-debt urban consumers in that both groups are living for today, giving little or no thought to their lives twenty or thirty years from now.

Still, for those who actually choose to live a rural survivalist life, it's clear that they have literally given up on modern American institutions and pop culture. That they live their dream is commendable. I'm not sure that I could do what they do. But their stories are fascinating and inspiring.

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Release Date:

20 May 2008 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

New Mexico, USA

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Production Co:

Still Point Pictures See more »
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