Hippie Family Values

Three generations of life at a communal ranch in New Mexico
Year Released
Film Length(s)
64 mins
Closed captioning available
Remote video URL


The founders of this back-to-the-land experiment are slowing down and facing declining health. Will the next generation be able to sustain the community?

Featured review

An immense contribution to communal studies and to public understanding of hippie culture, which bears vital lessons for society at large... An invaluable resource for libraries, classes, and conferences.
Don Pitzer
founder, Communal Studies Association and Director Emeritus, SIU Center for Communal Studies


An intimate portrait of hippie elders and their adult children, filmed over a 10-year period at a communal ranch in New Mexico.

Sally was the ultimate back-to-the-land pioneer, building her own adobe house—while pregnant—in time to give birth there. Now her daughter Dulcie is returning to the ranch to raise her own children in this community. But will Dulcie and her husband Charris be able to resist the tug of the wider world? Kate came to the ranch to raise her children and work as a potter. When she can no longer sustain the commute to care for her ailing 90-year old mother, Kate brings her home to the ranch to spend her final months. Bjorn has lived at the ranch for nearly 40 years. Now over 80, he struggles with declining health and wonders whether the next generation will be able to sustain the community.

The film counters dismissive stereotypes with stories of people forged in the 60s counterculture who remain motivated by those youthful ideals in their 60s, 70s and 80s—a vision, more urgent now than ever, of healed relationships to body, mind, spirit, society, Earth and cosmos.


A moving exploration of life at a 40 year old communal ranch in New Mexico, as the founders grapple with changes that come with growing older -- illness, disability, the death of parents, and their own mortality. A wonderful addition to courses in Family Studies, Sociology, Gerontology, and related disciplines, the film provides a springboard for discussing important topics related to aging, family relationships, and community life.
Deborah Altus
Chair, Department of Human Services and Coordinator, Gerontology Minor, Washburn University. Board member, International Communal Studies Association and Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America
One of the few excellent documentaries of a genuine hippie commune. A good classroom resource for courses in twentieth-century history and cultural alternatives.
Timothy Miller
author of The Hippies and American Values and The 60s Communes, and Professor of Religious Studies, Kansas University
This is a film that I believe anyone--hippie or not, communard or social conservative--has the capacity to relate to in some way, and to learn from. A beautiful piece of work…wonderful!
Chris Roth
Editor, Communities magazine
A magnificent film!
Robert Gerst
Professor of Liberal Arts, Massachusetts College of Art & Design
I loved teaching Hippie Family Values in my big gen ed class. Students were riveted by the idea of a utopian politics, of building a community to prefigure the world as you want it, because so many of them feel hopeless about creating inclusive communities that reflect their values in these times. The film moved my students, encouraged them, gave them hope, and provoked thoughtful and critical discussion.
Laura Briggs
Professor and Chair of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
A moving, luminous film. Everyone should see it!
Virginia Scharff
Distinguished Professor of History and Director, Center for the Southwest, University of New Mexico
Beverly Seckinger's curious and empathetic camera brings you close to a group who have made a communal life together for forty years--not without heartache and heartbreak, but beyond the isolation of nuclear families and privatized child-rearing. Great for students of ethnography, American Studies classrooms, courses exploring inter-generational communal life and anyone interested in the texture of everyday life lived in a vibrant and unconventional community.
Christina Crosby
Professor of English and Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Wesleyan University
An honest, engrossing and emotionally engaging account of a back-to-the-land hippie ranch in New Mexico and its members' journeys through time. I highly recommend it for classroom use, and for general audiences.
Jonathan Andelson
Professor of Anthropology, Grinnell College
An intimate and moving journey...a timely contribution to the renewed interest in the back-to-the-land movement among the millennials and a must see for all baby boomers.
Helis Sikk
Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, College of Wooster
A beautiful example of an ethnographic film that can enhance students' learning in a variety of fields, helping them understand what it means to try to build and sustain a utopian community.
Janet R. Jakobsen
Claire Tow Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Barnard College, Columbia University
An intimate and moving examination of an almost mythical life. The people in the film epitomize the dream of a simpler existence, close to the land and deeply connected with the environment and each other. Leaves the viewer hopeful for the future of human relationships and with renewed faith in the seductive lure of following one's dreams.
Ellen Hansen
Professor of Geography and Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies, Emporia State University
Hippie Family Values is a beautifully filmed and thoughtfully crafted story. But it is so much more: it's a commentary on our times and our obsession with stuff and success. It's an examination of human relationships and the impact of stepping outside the mainstream of culture. It's a look at what roots in a particular piece of land, a place, can mean. And perhaps best of all, this story of people with different aims and backgrounds coming together to internally create community, not always successfully, is an antidote to the bitter divisiveness that shapes our country today.
Susan J. Tweit
author of Walking Nature Home: A Life's Journey
A beautiful film, told with such sensitivity, integrity, and respect.
Sonali Gulati
Virginia Commonwealth University
Forty years ago, when the Ranch was founded in New Mexico as a back-to-the-land experiment, it was filled with idealistic young people determined to drop out of the materialistic world and live in a commune. Now the renegade hippies are senior citizens (We thought we were too cool to get old), and despite some health issues, those who remain on the land still enjoy the lifestyle and camaraderie. Some of the original members' offspring have returned with their own children, but most have left. Other newcomers have their own ideas on running the commune, creating friction between young and old. Although the future is questionable, some younger inhabitants rejoice in the lifestyle, using technology to sustain operations. Filled with vintage photographs, footage, and reminiscences, this program recalls the early years with all the excitement and sense of purpose.
Candace Smith
A seamless, lyrical, poignant piece of work.
Chris Wilson
Professor of Cultural Landscape Studies, University of New Mexico

Awards and Screenings

Grand Festival Award, Documentary, Berkeley Film Festival, 2019
Outstanding Project Award, Communal Studies Association, 2019
Outstanding Documentary Feature, University Film & Video Association, 2018
Santa Fe Film Festival, 2018

Director Commentary

Hippie Family Values grew organically from my experience playing music with Tucson-based band the Wayback Machine throughout southern Arizona and New Mexico for 20 years. The film explores the legacy of the hippie movement and ethos through the stories of elders and their offspring at a communal ranch in New Mexico, where we played our favorite gig of the year every summer.

The legacy of the hippie counterculture in southern Arizona and New Mexico is a fluid network of artists, organic gardeners and farmers, food co-ops and CSAs, community organizers, educators and activists, musicians and dancers, alternative health practitioners and natural builders, connected by a shared vision of social justice, communitarianism and sustainability, which stands in stark contrast to the consumerist values of mainstream corporate America. At the same time, many countercultural innovations have seeped into mainstream culture, from organic produce and free range eggs in chain grocery stores to yoga, meditation, acupuncture and massage, wind farms and rooftop solar, peace and border rights activism, cooperative business structures, and much more.

Fifty years after the Summer of Love, the don’t-trust-anyone-over-30 generation now dotes on their grandchildren, and faces the challenges of advancing age. The elders profiled in the film continue to defy convention as they pursue communal alternatives to commercial retirement facilities and nursing homes.

Despite their enduring contributions, energy and idealism, the word “hippie” remains an epithet, and cartoonish stereotypes prevail. Hippie Family Values tells a different story, and reclaims their legacy.

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Closed Captioning

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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