In the mid-1930s, the Blue Ridge Parkway was born. As Rock Castle Gorge became part of the National Park Service’s plan to lure tourists to the Blue Ridge, farm families living there had to be moved. Parkway officials set about acquiring their land. But the story does not end there. Generations later, Rock Castle descendants work to hold onto their past through photographs and stories. In Rock Castle Homedescendants and others teach us about early Natives, settlers, and the Depression-era farmers who lived on land in the Gorge long before the arrival of the Parkway. We reflect on the meaning of landownership, local culture, family, place, and the not-so-empty wilderness. We learn about the American Chestnut and the mountain agriculture that revolved around it, of building cabins and grist mills, raising corn, apples, and hogs, and distilling homemade whiskey. This is the deep story of one Blue Ridge hollow and its people. It is also the story of America and the amazing land we hold in common.

Director | Charles D. Thompson, Jr, Laurids Sonne