A sampling of stories from the film based on interviews with 500 men and women who hopped freights in the Great Depression
“As much as the romance might have been there, it was never as good as Richard Halliburton made it out to be. It was never that romantic or that adventurous. It wasn't worth the pain and the suffering. I wouldn’t do it again now for $100 a day, I probably wouldn't even do it for $200. $500 - you might talk to me.”
Napa, Idaho, August 3, "Dearest Mom, Just a line to let you know I’m OK. The police picked up Irene and I last night and put us in a cell. We sure made use of the cots. I hope they turn us loose soon so that we can go again. This is the third time they’ve picked us up. They all think we are runaways. Fooled eh what? Love and kisses, Peggy"
RIDING THE RAILS: TEENAGERS ON THE MOVE DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION
By Errol Lincoln Uys
“The reader can all but hear the cadence of the trains on the tracks and the lonesome wail at every stop.” – Chicago Tribune
“A riveting document of hope and hardship.” – Boston Globe
“Elegantly presented and quietly moving account of first-hand reminiscences. Enthusiastically recommended.” – Library Journal
Illustrated with fifty rare archival photos and drawing primarily on letters and oral histories of three thousand men and women who hopped freight trains, Riding the Rails brings to life a neglected saga of America in the 1930s. Self-reliance, compassion, frugality and a love of freedom and country are at the heart of the lessons these teens learned. At journey’s end, the resiliency of these survivors is a testament to the indomitable strength of the human spirit.
Errol Lincoln Uys is a renowned writer and editor. He was the editor-in-chief for Reader’s Digest in South Africa, and collaborated with James A. Michener on his South African novel, The Covenant. Uys is the author of the international best-seller, Brazil