Nature's Way (Film)

Nature's Way

  •  John Long, Elizabeth Barret
  •  1973
  • Color IconColor
  •  21:58
  •  16 mm film
Film Description
Most early mountain settlers did without professional medical help and learned to cure their own ailments using herbs, indigenous folklore, and home remedies. As the people profiled in Nature’s Way suggest, the practice of folk medicine has not disappeared from Appalachia. M.D. Machen is shown selling his cures in the traditional style of the patent medicine man while Scoop and Willie Westbrook talk about their remedies for flu. Etta Banks takes the viewer through the preparation of her family’s special salve. Kern Kiser is seen preparing his cancer cure medicine and describes how it saved his wife’s life. Lena Stephens, a midwife who’s delivered more than 5,000 babies, chats about her work as she calmly delivers twins.

Screenings & Festivals
  • American Film Festival
  • Film Festival Rotterdam
  • National Film Theatre, British Film Institute
  • Pacific Film Archive

This film was preserved by Appalshop Archive with support from the National Film Preservation Foundation. To support the work of preserving and safeguarding the collections, please consider designating a donation to Appalshop Archive.


“A fascinating, technically excellent, and uplifting film which underscores the valuable contributions being made by senior citizens in rural communities.” — Judith Trojan, author
“Charmingly chronicles the use of old-time cures and remedies.” — Newsweek
“At a time when we are beginning to question many aspects of our sophisticated medical establishment, we are reminded by such films that men and women have cared for themselves with great success since time immemorial.” — The Lactation Review