Synopsis by Mark Deming
The lives of a handful of unrelated characters come together in the wake of a tragedy in this independent drama. After an accident in an East Kentucky coalmine claims the life of one of the miners, his brother Moses (Bryan Marshall) comes home for the first time in years for the funeral. Moses has few rosy memories of his life in Appalachia, and even as he spends time with his family he seems wary and uncomfortable. As the mines close for a few days in the wake of the accident, Jesse (Kentucker Audley) enjoys some time off with his girlfriend Elva (Caroline White), but while he's enjoying himself she can't help but be reminded of how dangerous his job really is. Buck (Earl Lynn Nelson) is an executive with the mining company who comes to town to investigate the mine's safety. Buck is soon to retire and Nolan (Brendan McFadden), his replacement, has tagged along for training purposes, but the two get to know each other better than they expected when they're stuck without a motel room and have to camp in the woods. And an activist from Washington D.C. goes door to door trying to drum up support for a protest against surface mining; she doesn't have much luck, but finds a sympathetic ear in an unexpected place. Passenger Pigeons was the first feature film from writer and director Martha Stephens.