“It's hard to win around here, it really is,” says Lynn Beatty, a resident of Doddridge County, the epicenter of the fracking boom in West Virginia. A neighbor, Linda Ireland echoes that sentiment: “You feel like there's nothing you can do. Because you have these gas companies with all their resources. And the state seems to be on their side as well.”

Once the home to the rise and reign of King Coal, West Virginia is now in the crosshairs of a transition of power: from coal to gas. In the midst of this ecologically violent shift, communities are being ripped apart physically, economically and emotionally. The third poorest state in the nation, Paul Corbit Brown, president of Keepers of the Mountain explains the situation. “People here feel very isolated, they feel very forgotten. They feel very neglected, abandoned, abused – and hungry. For more than just food.” It's no surprise then that West Virginia is ranked number one in the opioid crisis. It's not surprising that forgotten folks have latched on to the lies and propaganda peddled by the likes of Trump.

What is surprising, however, is how much we could learn from West Virginia. Known by many, even inside the state, as a throwaway resource colony filled with nothing but hillbillies and poisoned streams and coal ash, these hills and hollers have a lot to show us about people power, resilience, beauty and indeed, ourselves. More than a microcosm of corporate malfeasance, bad policies and extremist propaganda, West Virginia is home to a radical working class history and the hard work of hoping for and building a better future.

Purposefully buried and now being dug up and amplified by grassroots activists, this history speaks to the power of the working class coming together – across cultural, race and religious dividing lines to organize together for basic human rights. From the sweeping and majestic hills of Southern Appalachia to the methane-streaked highways of the fracking corridor; from the decapitated peaks to the winding holler roads, this is a story most don't ever hear: a story truly of, for and by the people.

“Hard Road of Hope” amplifies the voices of these forgotten and proud rednecks – the ones carrying the torch from the first rednecks who tied on red bandanas and marched for their basic human rights. It seeks to hold a mirror up to all sacrifice zones, to the isolated folks in pain across the nation. This is an American story, an American history – and for the future of all the people who call this place home, this is the path we must all walk if we want to thrive, and indeed, survive.


(in order of appearance)

  • Paul Corbit Brown
  • President and Chair, Keepers of the Mountain
  • Wilma Steele
  • Board Member, West Virginia Mine Wars Museum – Matewan, West Virginia
  • Chad Cordell
  • Coordinator, Kanawha Forest Coalition
  • Terry Steele
  • UMWA Local 1440 Member, Former Miner
  • Linda Ireland
  • Resident, Doddridge County, West Virginia
  • Mirijana Beram
  • Resident, Doddrige County, West Virginia
  • James Beatty & Lynn Beatty
  • Residents, Doddridge County, West Virginia
  • Kimberly McCoy
  • Docent, West Virginia Mine Wars Museum – Matewan, West Virginia
  • Jen Deerinwater
  • Executive Director, Crushing Colonialism


  • Directed, Written and Produced by
  • Eleanor Goldfield
  • Audio and Video Post Production by
  • Chris Owens
  • Original Music by
  • Michael John Adams
  • Photographs and video by
  • Eleanor Goldfield
  • (unless otherwise noted)

Special thanks

  • Paul Corbit Brown
  • Mirijana Beram
  • Ted Auch from FracTracker
  • SouthWings
  • Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
  • West Virginia Mine Wars Museum
  • Fellow Snapping Turtles Doon Mars and Jen Deerinwater
  • Lee Camp
  • And all participants who leant their time and expertise during these interviews.


(partial list)

  • David Paul
  • Gimena Sanchez
  • Debby Zamorski
  • Elaine Smith
  • Shanti Davidson
  • At The Barricades
  • Fred Saberian
  • Bob Martin
  • Bruce Hitchcock
  • Christopher Andrews
  • Dave C
  • Martha Leslie Allen
  • Paul Blair
  • Rael Nidess
  • Serena Bergstrom

Our work is made possible via patrons. We have no backing from any media outlet, any organizations or any corporations. We don't do this for the money, and it takes money to get it done. Anything you can give to support our work is hugely appreciated and goes straight in to creating more content like this. If you would like to support us, check out our patreon.

Hard Road of Hope was filmed in, at and around Charleston, Pax, Kayford Mountain, Matewan, Clarksburg, West Union, and Parkersburg, West Virginia.

About the Filmmaker

Eleanor Goldfieldis a queer creative radical, journalist and filmmaker. Her English reporting work has appeared on Free Speech TV, RT America, Mint Press News, ROAR, Popular Resistance, Truthdig and more. She also writes for Swedish press such as Tidningen Brand, predominantly on the issues of US imperialism and Swedish sycophancy. She is one of the 2020 recipients of the “Women and Media Award” presented by The Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press. She is currently a board member of the Media Freedom Foundation.

Her first documentary, " Hard Road of Hope ," covers past and present radicalism in the resource colony known as West Virginia. Thus far, the film has garnered international praise, a Best Feature Length Documentary award, and Best Woman Filmmaker Award, and has Official Selection laurels in 13 film festivals including Cannes Independent.

Currently, Eleanor is the co-host of the podcast Common Censored along with Lee Camp as well as the Project Censored radio show with Mickey Huff.

Previously, she founded and fronted the political hard rock band Rooftop Revolutionaries who toured extensively, opening up for acts such as Tom Morello and Helmet. She worked for 10 years in recording studios such as The Village in Los Angeles as a technician, and during that time received a B.S. (which she finds endlessly amusing) in Audio Science.

Her work as a community organizer is based on mutual aid principles and direct action.

As an artist, her work typically combines live music, spoken word and projected visuals. Besides touring, performing and media work, she also assists in frontline action organizing and activist trainings.