Set in 1930s Garthville, TN, Wild River deals with residents along the Tennessee River whose homes and land will be impacted by an impending flood. While the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has convinced most of the locals along the river to sell their land, it has thus far been unable to convince Ella Garth (Jo Van Fleet) to part with her family’s home. As the new head of TVA’s Land Purchasing Office, Chuck Glover (Montgomery Clift) is charged with convincing this last remaining family along the river to
vacate their land before it is flooded. While the narrative of Wild River is set in Garthville, TN, filming occurred in Cleveland, TN, making it the first film to have been shot entirely in Tennessee. Director Elia Kazan was reportedly inspired to create the movie after a trip to Tennessee in the 1930s and after a job he held temporarily at the US Department of Agriculture.
much of the conflict in Wild River stems from friction between the TVA
and the Garthville locals, the main adversary of the film proves to be the prospect
of the flood itself. When Glover pleads with Garth to leave her land. she encourages
him to pick up a handful of the soil that surrounds him, beseeching him to
consider the implications of deserting her home. Glover responds by claiming
that tons of the soil are being washed away every year, a statement that, while
true on a physical level, also illustrates a shift occurring throughout the
overall region because of the floods, forming a subsequent a reshaping of the
Appalachian home. The construction of the dam also a symbolizes the unification
that occurs among individuals affected by the flooding as they seek to overcome
environmental trails in a space that is all the while distinctly Appalachian.
 “Wild River: Our History on the Big Screen.” Visit Cleveland, TN, https://visitclevelandtn.com/things-to-see-and-do/heritage/wild-rivertva/
 “Wild River (1960).” TCM, http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/95886/Wild-River/notes.html