The Worst Hard Time

The Worst Hard Time

by

Timothy Egan

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An amateur filmmaker who had the idea of filming a movie about “how and why the Great Plains had been settled and then brought to ruination.” Lorentz had never made a film before, and Hollywood was not interested in hiring him. Roy Stryker hired him in 1935 to make a documentary, which would be funded by the U.S. government. Lorentz wanted to show how people had created the problem in the Great Plains. His film, The Plow That Broke the Plains, became one of the most influential documentaries ever made. The film was the only peacetime film produced by the U.S. government and “intended for broad commercial release.” The former cowboy Bam White is featured in the film.
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Pare Lorentz Character Timeline in The Worst Hard Time

The timeline below shows where the character Pare Lorentz appears in The Worst Hard Time. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 19: Witnesses
Economic Hardship and Lessons of the Great Depression Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
...He also captured a father and son running for cover to a “half-buried outbuilding.” Pare Lorentz, an amateur filmmaker, wanted to film a narrative of “how and why the Great Plains... (full context)
Economic Hardship and Lessons of the Great Depression Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
Studio heads did not want the U.S. government in the film business. Lorentz’s film was going to be a commercial release. Others said that the film would be... (full context)
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
Lorentz and his crew filmed in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. When he reached... (full context)
Chapter 20: The Saddest Land
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
...He furiously denounced the film as propaganda. Other Politicians joined McCarty in his outrage. However, Lorentz was not the first person to blame careless agriculture for the wreckage of the plains.... (full context)