Rebels with a Cause

About This Episode


"They were unpaid and they were crazy. They were Rebels with a Cause."

Beginning in the 1950s, a national movement was born of principles that may seem obvious today. Unconvinced by land developers who promoted residential construction as unmitigated progress, citizens began banding together to preserve open spaces near urban areas for parks and farms — and took the fight all the way to the White House.

Narrated by Oscar-winning actress Frances McDormand, Rebels with a Cause is the story of a regional California effort that grew into an astonishing system of fourteen National Seashores — the result of garden clubs, ranchers, farmers, conservationists, politicians from both parties, widows, and volunteers working together through compromise and negotiation, with the American public coming up as the winner. It’s an example of a hard fought campaign to preserve public land. The film conveys an inspiring truth about how ordinary individuals have the power to change the rules.