Tom Joad (Henry Fonda) is returning home to Oklahoma after a brief stint in prison for manslaughter. He is so looking forward to seeing his family and settling down to work the family farm. On they way he bumps into the former family minister, Casy (John Carradine) who informs him that things have very much changed while he was away. Hurriedly, he continues his short journey home to find that the Dust Bowl has wiped out the crops and modern agricultural machines are rapidly replacing the need for share cropper farmers. Ma Joad (Jane Darwell) greets him by saying that they are being pushes off the farm. They plan to head to sunny California where the land is greener and the jobs are more plentiful. The family is reluctant to go, especially Grandpa Joad (Charley Grapewin) who does not even make it aboard the old broken down model A truck. With the land officials on their backs and the dust still blowing in, the reluctance turns to necessity so they climb aboard and head out taking Casy with them.
The trip is long and hard with cramped quarters and little food, Grandma Joad (Zeffie Tillbury) doesn't make to the supposed promised land. When the family pulls for a little break, they are warned by others that it isn't the land of milk and honey at all. They are told that they will probably receive a nasty welcome from the residents and that conditions will be very harsh. Both prove to be true as they head out again. The journey continues to be difficult as the old truck is on it's last leg. They are forced to stop often for water in the radiator and eventually end up with a flat tire. As they sit alongside the road they worry because the food is almost gone. A gentlemen drives up and give news that appears to be a blessing. He tells of a peach picking camp in need of good strong workers and giving his name for entry purposes. The Joad family are relieved and head out straight away.
The place is in chaos when they arrive. Fearful but determined, they creep past the almost riotous crowd of potential workers and the armed guards at the gate. They find filthy ramshackle one room quarters, communal water and poor wages that get poorer everyday. The camp more resembles a hostage camp rather than a work camp. It doesn't take Tom long to get fed up with it all and he sneaks out for a walk along the river. He comes across a band of men who are ready to cause bodily harm but upon entry of the tent, he once again meets Casy. Casy is now minister turned activist and is trying to rally the workers to protest for better conditions. Their reunion is short lived as another group of hostile men approach the tent. This time they mean business and they are after Casy. Tom, Casy and the other men scramble away but are soon caught up with at the river. A fist fight ensure, Casy is killed and Tom retaliates by hitting the murderer with a board, killing him also. Tom escapes and flees back to camp gathering his family they steal away in the night. With the truck on it's last leg, they roll into a government sponsored work camp. They are greeted by a calm pleasant man (Grant Mitchell) dressed in white. The place is so clean and organized that the family think they are in heaven. There is even running water and indoor plumbing which the children have never seen. There are also organized social events such as square dances to occupy the workers in their free time. Just such an event takes place and the workers are warned by a kind farmer that there is a plan to be enacted but rebel locals. They are going to try to cause a riot and have the camp disbanded. Their plan is foiled but that puts the law onto Tom. He finds in necessary to once again run for his life but no he has a new "I'm fed up and not going to take it anymore attitude". In his last few moments spent with Ma before departure, he tell her that he is going off to follow in Casy's footsteps by becoming an activist himself.
The review of this Movie prepared by Talea