The PBS Independent Lens documentary Stray Dog, airing Monday 11/9 on most PBS stations, is a powerful and moving portrait of Ron “Stray Dog” Hall, a Vietnam veteran who’s still dealing with the fallout from his military service. Hall travels on his Harley with a group of fellow veterans to pay tribute to their fallen brother at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington. Hall’s wife Alicia is a Mexican immigrant and they’re trying to raise her two sons in hardscrabble mid-America.
The film was directed by Debra Granik, who first met Hall when she cast him in a small role in Winter’s Bone, the rural crime drama that earned a very young Jennifer Lawrence her first Oscar nomination. Granik was so impressed with Hall that she made this film to tell his story.
In this video clip, Ron “Stray Dog” Hall and fellow veterans visit and comfort Annie Washington, whose daughter was killed in Iraq.
The result is a movie that confounds expectations: Hall and his crew are complex individuals. No one fits into the “Red or Blue” narrative promoted by cable news and the political commentators. They’re struggling to get by, struggling with the past and banding together to offer comfort and support to people in need.