Tradition (Film)


  •  Anthony Slone
  •  1973
  • Color IconColor
  •  19:25
  •  16 mm film
Film Description
Whiskey-making, one of the oldest traditions in the mountains, has been illegal since the end of the 18th century. Tradition is a portrait of Appalachian moonshiner Logan Adams, who began practicing his trade as a boy because “back then there wasn’t any jobs…about like now.” Adams discusses his vocation and why he continues to make whiskey despite having served a string of jail sentences for the practice. Adams’ story and family interviews are intercut with a federal revenue agent who describes the methods used by law enforcement agents to apprehend moonshiners. The film concludes with a tour by Adams of his still as he describes the whiskey-making process. This film will be of interest to anyone interested in moonshining, the economic and traditional forces that motivate illegal whiskey making, the law and its penalties, as well as anyone interested in what a practice long stereotyped by outsiders really entails.

Screenings & Festivals
  • Film Forum, New York
  • Ozark Folk Center
  • Pacific Film Archive
  • Sinking Creek Film Celebration

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.


“The moonshiner and the agent receive evenhanded treatment, and the film is more convincing and takes strength from its moral ambiguity.” —Journal of American Folklore
“Interesting for a discussion of the role of poverty in crime and for what happens when the law opposes folkways.” — Moral Choices in Contemporary Society Filmography
“Very well done.” — San Diego Schools