Rarely-seen independent film from 1954. Directed by Herbert J. Biberman and written by Michael Biberman and Michael Wilson. Starred a few professional actors, like Will Geer, and a bunch of non-professional actors--in other words, many of them had never acted before.

Based on an actual strike against the Empire Zinc Mine in New Mexico, the movie dealt with the prejudice against the Mexican-American workers, who unionized and went on strike to attain wage parity with Anglo workers in other mines and to be treated with dignity by the bosses. The film has a strong feminist theme, because the wives of the miners, against their husbands' wishes, play a pivotal role in the strike.

Quite a few members of the cast and crew, including the director, Will Geer, screenwriter Michael Wilson, and producer Paul Jarrico, were members of the "Hollywood Ten", who had been blacklisted for refusing to answer questions before the House Un-American Activities Committee. After the movie was completed, the filmmakers had trouble finding anyone who would process their film, much less release it. The film was denounced as pro-Communist, and the movie was in theaters for a very short period, thanks to angry protestors and skittish theater owners. Even today, "Salt of the Earth" is a difficult movie to find on video. If your local video store carries it, rent it--it's a good one.