Documentary   United States of America

In addition to the historical background of the miners' plight and the UMWA, "Harlan County U.S.A." delves into the specific events of the coal miners' strike against the Brookside Mine. The documentary highlights the escalating tensions between the striking miners and the Eastover Mining Company, which refused to sign a contract with the UMWA.

As the strike begins in June 1973, the film captures the determination and resilience of the miners and their families as they set up picket lines outside the mine, demanding fair wages, better working conditions, and the right to be represented by a union. The striking miners face confrontations with company agents and scabs, who are often armed and resort to violence.

Director Barbara Kopple provides an intimate portrayal of the mining community in Harlan County, documenting the profound impact the strike has on the lives of its residents. The film follows the struggles and hardships faced by the miners and their families, who endure economic hardships and constant threats from company representatives.

Throughout the year-long strike, Kopple also emphasizes the role of the supportive women-folk in the community. The wives, mothers, and daughters of the striking miners play a significant part in the picket lines, providing morale and strength to the workers while also confronting their own difficulties.

The documentary showcases the tension-filled clashes between the miners and company representatives, as well as the broader community solidarity that emerges in support of the strike. It also highlights the legal battles and political maneuvers that shape the eventual outcome of the strike.

"Harlan County U.S.A." serves as a captivating and empathetic portrait of the struggles faced by the coal miners in Harlan County, Kentucky, shedding light on the conditions they endured and the remarkable resilience they displayed in their fight for justice and fair treatment.
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