Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas


  • Documentary Films: The Plow that Broke the Plains and The River
  • Film
  • 7/12/2007
  • 19:00-21:00
  • Spencer Museum of Art
  • Host: Spencer Museum of Art
Event Description
Art and propaganda meet to powerful effect in these two documentaries from the 1930s. Written and directed by Pare Lorentz, both films were made by the U.S. government and clearly intended to promote President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, a series of initiatives designed to help the country recover from the Great Depression. The Plow focuses on the Great Plains and how, after settlers wiped out the Indians and buffalo who once inhabited the area, the great prosperity and progress that followed eventually left the land over-grazed and over-farmed, turning it into a parched, cracked Dust Bowl. The River details the remarkable growth of trade and travel along the Mississippi River, where the booming farming, lumber, iron, coal, and steel industries stripped the surrounding land of its soil and roots. (112 minutes)