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This story of a Welsh valley's turn-of-the-century descent from pristine paradise to despoiled coal mining region, is told in flashback form by Huw Morgan, an old man who has decided to leave the valley forever. Huw is the youngest in a family of 6 brothers and 1 sister and the film centers on his struggle toward manhood amid conflicting demands of faith, economics, education and family loyalty in a Wales caught in an irreversible shift from a pastoral to an industrialized society. The story, based on the novel by Richard Llewellyn, is accented by an impressive background of Welsh choral music and quaint patterns of speech.