Prepare to be blown away. The story of this man-made ecological disaster, considered the worst in US history, is heartbreaking and astounding. The Dust Bowl story is presented in a series of short episodes, the first being “The Great Plow Up,” which documents the plowing method used by farmers in the 1920s that destroyed the natural deep rooted grasses that kept the great plains’ soil moist and safe from wind erosion, causeing "the Dust Bowl."
The film features 26 survivors of the Dust Bowl. Their stories tell of the great perseverance and hard times known as the “dirty thirties.” These interviews are combined with still photographs, rare movie footage and the excellent narration that Ken Burns is known for. These stunning photos and movies left my jaw dropped. There are startling images of entire farms buried in dust, or New York City scapes with their street lights on midday because the dirt storm made the sky so black. I can’t promise this film is uplifting, in fact it’s quite sad and sobering, but it is worth hearing and seeing. This is our midwest history. Our relationship to this land we live on is dynamic and yet, still delicate. May we learn from the past and continue to care for it in the future.