BEHIND THE SCENES
Director Debra Granik met Ron “Stray Dog” Hall while scouting in Southern Missouri on her previous film, Winter’s Bone. After meeting Stray Dog by chance at a biker church, Granik asked him to read for the role of Thump Milton. He was game. Although he did not have previous acting experience, he proved well-suited to the role. After filming wrapped, Granik visited Stray Dog at his RV park for what might have been a final goodbye. Instead, an unanticipated hours-long conversation ranging from Ron’s childhood growing up in the Bootheel of Missouri, his experiences as a young soldier in Vietnam, the evolution of his spirituality incorporating Buddhism, Christianity and paganism to his struggle to balance obligations to family, emerging symptoms of post-traumatic stress, and his veteran identity. This conversation planted the seeds for what turned into three years of following Ron and his family.
In May 2010, residents of Southern Missouri who participated in the making of 'Winter's Bone' gathered to discuss their experiences of life in the Ozarks and their definitions of the word "hillbilly."
The resulting piece includes interviews with 'Stray Dog' cast members Ron "Stray Dog" Hall and Bobby Pittinger.