American Experience (1988– )
4 user
Efforts of the United Mine Workers, led by Mother Jones, to organize coal miners in southern West Virginia at the beginning of the 20th century leads to violence and insurrection.


Randall MacLowry


Mark Zwonitzer




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Murphy ... Self - Narrator (voice)
James Robert Green James Robert Green ... Self - Professor of History
Doug Estepp Doug Estepp ... Self - Local Historian, West Virginia
Rosemary Feurer Rosemary Feurer ... Self - Associate Professor and Lead Historian for the Mother Jones Museum
Thomas G. Andrews Thomas G. Andrews ... Self - Professor of History and Author of 'Killing for Coal: America's Deadliest Labor War'
Denise Giardina Denise Giardina ... Self - Novelist
Beverly Gage ... Self - Professor of 20th-Century American History, Yale University
Joe William Trotter Jr. Joe William Trotter Jr. ... Self - Professor of History, Carnegie Mellon University
Rebecca J. Bailey Rebecca J. Bailey ... Self - Historian, Northern Kentucky University
C. Belmont Keeney C. Belmont Keeney ... Self - Historian (as Chuck Keeney)
Ellis Ray Williams Ellis Ray Williams ... Self - Former Coal Miner
Jean Battlo Jean Battlo ... Self - Local Historian, West Virginia
Carl Starr Carl Starr ... Self - Former Coal Miner
Ronald L. Lewis Ronald L. Lewis ... Self - Historian, Department of History, West Virginia University
John Alexander Williams John Alexander Williams ... Self - Professor of History, Appalachian State University


Efforts of the United Mine Workers, led by Mother Jones, to organize coal miners in southern West Virginia at the beginning of the 20th century leads to violence and insurrection.

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User Reviews

Not a film against American capitalism but of world capitalism circa 1900-1920
11 February 2016 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

The other review for this goes off on rants about Fox News (which was not around in 1900 last I checked) and the evils of American capitalism...but the film is about neither. Instead, it's about the state of unrestrained capitalism. In this case, it's set in the United States but could have been almost anywhere back in the day. And, while you could easily and fairly say it's about American capitalism at the turn of the 20th century, these working conditions and practical ownership over the worker do not exist in this country any more and haven't for a very, very long time. So the film is NOT "American Experience" and their attack on an evil country--just an evil time in this country.

The film is set in West Virginia and much of it in southern West Virginia. While the United Mine Workers union was able to establish itself in northern states, in this particular one it wasn't...and the owners of the mines resorted to evil tactics to keep it that way. Hired anti-union armies who took the law into their own hands, governments seemingly bought and paid for my the companies and virtual serfdom for the workers made life unfair and rather hellish. The film is about the efforts of folks like Mother Jones and Frank Kenney to push for the right to unionize and the sad way the state eventually devolved into violence and repression.

The film is reasonably well balanced and informative. It's also important to see because most folks don't even realize that we went through such a period...and such things also occurred in other countries as well due to the notion that capitalism meant property rights for the rich but not everyone else. Fortunately, times have changed and the film makes you thankful of this.

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Release Date:

26 January 2016 (USA) See more »

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(DVD) | (total run time) (PAL) (in two parts)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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