Order the film

What's on the DVD?

3-DVD set:

Disk 1 The Movie
back to top

Directors’ commentary available on Disk 1 for behind-the-scenes insight.

From the timbered shores of the Pacifi c Northwest to the marble halls of Washington, DC, the choices about how we use our natural heritage are fi lled with controversy. Whether it is the protection of endangered species or meeting the needs of a growing public, the fate of public lands is constantly challenged. Visionary foresters Gifford Pinchot and Aldo Leopold shaped the debate for a hundred years. Their journey from the “wise use” of resources to the idea of a “land ethic” has defi ned the evolution of the Forest Service. In a breathtaking high-defi nition documentary, The Greatest Good takes the audience on a journey as compelling as it is uniquely American.

Part I – The Fight for Conservation (1864–1910)
In an era of unchecked exploitation, a new breed of
leaders emerges with radical ideas about using the
nation’s resources for the benefi t of all.

Part II – Building the System (1911–1940)
The Forest Service invents the tools and policies to
manage public lands. Firefi ghting and outdoor recreation
emerge as important functions of the agency.

Part III – Boom! (1941–1970)
World War II transforms the nation. The Forest Service
shifts into full production to meet social needs.

Part IV – The Greatest Good? (1971–2005)
An outspoken public and a new understanding of
ecosystems shape a vision for America’s public land that
continues to evolve.

The story is told from a wide variety of perspectives, including
leading historians as well as many of the participants, inside and
outside the Forest Service.

Scene Index back to top

Part I – The Fight for Conservation
1. A Wooden Nation
2. The Pinchot Family
3. Land Grants and Frauds
4. The Division of Forestry
5. President Theodore Roosevelt
6. The Birth of the Forest Service
7. Elers Koch and Early Rangers
8. Grazing
9. Midnight Forests
10. Denver Lands Convention
11. Hetch Hetchy
12. Pinchot, You’re Fired

Part II – Building the System
1. The Big Blowup
2. Early firefighters and Lookouts
3. The Weeks Act
4. Motor Tourism and Trappers Lake
5. Aldo Leopold
6. The Dust Bowl and FDR
7. Civilian Conservation Corps
8. The Shack
9. Bob Marshall
10. 10:00 AM Policy and Smokechasers

Part III – Boom!
1. World War II
2. America Needs Homes
3. The Forest Service Family
4. A Woman’s Role
5. Hot Shots and Tragedy Fires
6. Smokey Bear
7. The “Can Do” Agency
8. America’s Playground
9. Multiple Use
10. Timber is King
11. The Wilderness Act
12. Protest and Transformation

Part IV – The Greatest Good?
1. Monongahela and Bitterroot
2. Environmental Laws
3. New Voices and Values
4. Roadless Area Review
5. Mount St. Helens
6. Old Growth, New Forestry
7. Fire versus Fire
8. People Pressures
9. Finding the Greatest Good

Disk 2 – Bonus Material back to top

Trailers and Music Videos

1. 2003 Trailer
A “work-in-progress” preview of the production

2. 2004 Trailer
The final theatrical trailer based on the completed film

3. Interview with the Composer
Lance Bendiksen on writing and performing the score

4. “Endless Forest”
Aerials set to music and lyrics by Lance Bendiksen

5. Fire Music
Fire images set to the film’s fire theme music

6. Conservation Leaders
Short overview of the Forest Service and conservation from 1994

Views of the Forest Service

1. The Greatest Good Idea
Opinions on the concept of “The Greatest Good”

2. Laws and Politics
Opinions on political aspects of the Forest Service

3. Management and Science
Opinions about how the national forests are managed

4. Generations
Interviews with employees whose parents worked for the Forest Service

The Forest Service in TV, Radio and Film

1. The Forest Ranger’s Job
1928 silent film from the National Archives

2. Jonathan Winters
Comedian Winters, dressed as tree, warns about fire

3. Popeye in the Woods
Cartoon featuring Popeye the Sailor saving the woods

4. Uncle Sam’s Forest Rangers
A 1934 episode from NBC radio’s “Farm and Home” hour

5. Public service announcements
A selection of public service announcements on radio

6. John McGuire Interview
1972 Interview with new chief, John McGuire

7. Green Harvest - “We all need forest products.”
Clip from Weyerhaeuser film about tree farms

8. Lassie Memories
Forest Service employees recall the classic TV series

9. K.D. Swan, Photographer
The art of forester / photographer K.D. Swan

10. Denver Public Library
A look inside the Denver Public Library

11. Who Owns America’s Streams?
Public service announcement about fishing on national forests

12. Woodsy Owl
Some public service announcements featuring Woodsy Owl

About the Forest Service

1. The Yale Lock
Gerald Williams describes a piece of hardware history

2. The Badge
Gerald Williams on the symbol of agency authority

3. The Use Book
Origins and evolution of the Forest Service manual

4. Forest Service vs. Park Service
The sometimes bitter bureaucratic rivalry with the National Park Service

5. Gifford Pinchot Speech
Gifford Pinchot fights to keep the national forests in USDA

6. The Black Box
Uncovering one of the great Forest Service secrets

7. District Clerks
The women who actually ran the Forest Service

8. “You don’t send me D.G.s”
Data General, the agency’s first computer network

9. The Job Corps
Overview of the job training program

10. International Programs
Highlights work of the Forest Service around the world

Disk 3 – The Other Bonus Material back to top


1. Fiddlin’ Foresters - Cold Missouri Waters
Emotion-charged song about the Mann Gulch tragedy

2. Women Smokejumpers
Segment from “Smoke- jumpers from the Sky”

3. Hotshots Reminisce
Three southern California firefighters tell stories

4. Lookouts
History and lore of the fire lookout towers

5. Early Communications
Development of fire communications technology

6. Aerial Attack
Development of aircraft and retardant use

7. The Madam Story
An unconfirmed story of how firefighters were paid

Smokey Bear

1. Eddy Arnold
Country singer Eddy Arnold croons Smokey’s song

2. The Collectors
Smokey Bear fans show off their collections

3. Doc Smith
E.J. Smith, Smokey’s doctor, recalls his famous patient

4. Smokey (the) Bear Song
Various bands perform the Smokey Bear song

5. Rudy Wendelin
A portrait of Smokey’s most famous illustrator

6. PSAs -1960s
Smokey Bear public service announcements

7. PSAs -1970s
Smokey Bear public service announcements

8. PSAs -1980s
Smokey Bear public service announcements

9. PSAs -1990s
Smokey Bear public service announcements

10. PSAs -2000s
Smokey Bear public service announcements

11. Smokey Posters with USFS performers
Smokey Bear posters through the years, set to music

12. Snuffy – Smokey’s Friend
Snuffy, one of Smokey’s cartoon friends

History Short Subjects

1. W.B. Osborne
Osborne: Inventor of fire finder and panoramic camera

2. Harry Gisborne
Gisborne: Pioneer in forest fire research

3. Hudson River School
Influence of 19th century artists on conservation history

4. The Pinchot Family
Many generations and their connections to America’s forests

5. Cornelia Bryce Pinchot
Cornelia Pinchot: Marriage and Politics

6. William B. Greeley
Greeley: The conflict between the third chief and GP

7. William Kreutzer
Kreutzer: The first ranger on the federal forest reserves

8. Charles Sprague Sargent
Charles Sargent and the national forest commission

9. The Boone and Crockett Club
The sportsmen’s club pushes for early conservation laws

10. Harold Ickes
FDR’s Interior Secretary tries to regain national forests

History Out Takes

1. A Wooden Nation
The use and exploitation of forests in early America

2. GP’s Legacy
Gifford Pinchot’s lasting influence on the Forest Service

3. The Cattle Kingdom
Damage to the western grasslands by 19th century grazing

4. Biltmore
Pinchot uses scientific forestry on the Vanderbilt estate

5. World War I
Role of Forestry Engineers and the Forest Products Lab

6. Range Wars
Ranchers and rangers feud over post-war grazing limits

7. Sagebrush Rebellion
Revolt against federal land ownership in western states

8. Mount Saint Helens
The volcano as a laboratory for ecological restoration

9. Eastern Forests
A Constitutional hook justifies federal land purchases

back to top