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John Ford's memorable screen version of John Steinbeck's epic novel of the Great Depression--often regarded as the director's best film--stars Henry Fonda as Tom Joad. After having served a brief prison sentence for manslaughter, Joad arrives at his family's Oklahoma farm only to find it abandoned. Muley (John Qualen), a neighbor now nearly mad with grief, tells Tom of the drought that has transformed the farmland of Oklahoma into a desert and of the preying land agents who have plowed under the shacks of the sharecroppers. Joined by former hellfire preacher Casy (John Carradine), Tom finds his extended family, including Pa (Charles Grapewin) and his indomitable Ma (Jane Darwell), packing their ramshackle truck to seek work in the fields of California. As the family treks across the country, their dissolution begins with the deaths of Tom's grandparents at close intervals. When they arrive in California, the Joads find only an abundance of poverty-stricken migrants like themselves and little in the way of potential work. Yet, ever resilient, they maintain their dignity, hoping for the best.