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A Home on the Range

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Jack London, California vigilantes, McCarthyism, the Cold War and agribusiness come to life in A Home on the Range: The Jewish Chicken Ranchers of Petaluma, a quintessentially American story of how a community of immigrants found a new home in California.

The film tells the little-known story of Jews who fled the pogroms and hardships of Eastern Europe, endured sweatshops in New York, joined the labor movement, and surprisingly, gravitated towards a small town in Northern California to raise chickens. Even in the sweatshops of New York Jews had heard about Petaluma where the Jews were not shopkeepers and professionals, but rather, they were the farmers.

A Home on the Range introduces a fractious, idealistic, and intrepid group of Eastern European Jews and their descendants as they confront obstacles of language and culture on their journey towards becoming Americans. These immigrants were searching for a better life in California, but weathered their fair share of hard knocks along the way. They survived the Depression, confronted racism and political turmoil and took on the agribusiness industry.

A Home on the Range combines in-depth interviews with home movies, newspaper articles, and archival footage to recreate the flavor of this lively ranching community in which agrarian aspirations, progressive politics and secular Jewish culture all co-existed.


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