Segments in this Video

Miner's Story: Film Prelude (02:10)


The story of American miners is a story of hardship and struggle. Forced to work long hours in dangerous situations, miners' pay was too low to allow them to save.

Men and Boys in the Coal Mines (03:42)

Romanticized images of the Old West do not include the lives of Colorado coal miners. Coal is essential to feed the growing appetite of industrialization. Archival photographs show young teens working alongside adult men in the mines.

Immigrant Mine Workers (04:03)

Many of the immigrants arriving at Ellis Island end up in the coal mines of America. Mine owners pay for passage to America in exchange for work in the mines. These immigrants would never experience the American Dream.

Coal Mining: Industrial Feudalism (02:43)

Big coal companies build their own towns, providing housing and services for the miners--for a profit. Company stores are the only source of tools, food, household goods--everything the family needed. Instead of money, miners earn script.

Coal Mining: Women's Story (02:23)

Women in the coal mining camps live hard lives raising a multitude of children, fetching water, washing clothes by hand, baking, cooking, and so much more. These women are brave and hardy. Young girls are kept home to help with chores.

Mining: Then and Now (02:36)

Archival film footage shows the miners at work, doing everything by hand and taking dangerous risks. Old miners share their stories of the old days Miners today would not recognize the old tools of the trade.

Coal Mines: Importance of Mules (03:04)

Mules are the beasts of burden the coal mines. They are stabled in the mines and seldom leave. Miners often beat the mules to get them moving. The speed of the mule determines the amount of work a miner gets paid for.

Coal Mines: Working Conditions (03:07)

Miners are literally captives in coal mining canyons. Owners and foremen cheat the miners regularly and make them pay for the most minor of mistakes. Miners are victims of the owners' greed.

Coal Mining Dangers (04:37)

Mine explosions are common, and thousands of miners lose their lives. Old miners share stories of cave-ins and explosions. Emotion over the past remains close to the surface.

Miners Organize and Strike (04:51)

For decades miners make demands on owners but to no avail. Miners agitate for unionization, a dangerous movement that could get them killed. Miners hold secret union meetings. A strike is called, and owners evict the miners.

Heroine of the Labor Movement (05:07)

Mary Harris Jones, the legendary Mother Jones, supports miners' efforts to unionize. Devoted to the labor movement, the 83-year-old fears no one and no thing. A general orders his men to trample women marchers supporting Mother Jones.

Miners vs. Militia (04:51)

The miners' strike of 1913-14 is a war. Miners are armed with 20,000 rifles. Murders are common n both sides. A war to the death rages between miners and militiamen. General Chase orders the miners' tent city burned to the ground.

Coal Mining Wars: Women and Children (03:27)

When the military and militia burn the tent cities, they murder women and children and commit other atrocities on the innocent. A train engineer rescues as many women and children as he can. Red Cross teams begin to remove bodies.

Aftermath of a Massacre (02:21)

After the massacre of miners and their families, small white babies' coffins rest on a horse-drawn dray as it moves towards the church. Miners take over the town of Trinidad after the massacre.

No Company Concessions (04:35)

The news of the Ludlow Massacre spurs an almost universal revulsion towards the mine operators.In their rage over the deaths of their wives and children, miners set fire to company property. The strike ends without company concessions.

Credits: Out of the Depths: The Miner’s Story (01:25)

Credits: Out of the Depths: The Miner’s Story

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Out of the Depths: The Miner's Story

Part of the Series : A Walk Through the 20th Century with Bill Moyers
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $149.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $224.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $149.95



Danger has always surrounded the coal miner’s profession, but in the early years of the Colorado coal fields, it was almost as risky for a worker to stay above ground and face the wrath of the company as it was to toil in the tunnels below. This Bill Moyers program presents the memories of the people who worked those mines, freeing the rocks, metals, and minerals on which much of 20th-century American industry was founded. The depths of their struggles are revealed as they recall the deplorable conditions in which they labored and the events which led to the legendary 1913 United Mine Workers’ strike as well as the infamous 1914 Ludlow Massacre. (56 minutes)

Length: 57 minutes

Item#: BVL42072

ISBN: 978-1-62102-066-0

Copyright date: ©1984

Closed Captioned

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