The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia

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The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia
The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia poster.jpg
Directed by Julien Nitzberg
Produced by Katie Doering
Paige Hess-Hill
Johnny Knoxville
Julien Nitzberg
Priya Swaminathan
Storm Taylor
Jeff Tremaine
Jeffrey Yapp
Starring Jesco White
Music by Deke Dickerson
Hank Williams III
Edited by Ben Daughtrey
Dickhouse Productions
MTV Studios
Distributed by Tribeca Film
Release date(s)
  • April 2009 (2009-04) (Tribeca Film Festival)
  • May 5, 2010 (2010-05-05) (United States)
Running time 88 minutes
Language English

The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia is a 2009 documentary film directed by Julien Nitzberg, chronicling the White Family of Boone County, West Virginia.

The Whites[edit]

The film follows the White family for one year with first person interviews. The film mentions the details of the death of Donald Ray "D. Ray" White, the patriarch of the family. It also mentions D. Ray White's rise to stardom as one of the most famous mountain dancers of his time. Bertie Mae White, D. Ray's widow, is also featured; her illness is documented throughout the course of the film. Six of D. Ray and Bertie's thirteen children are featured in the film.[1]

D. Ray and Bertie's Children[edit]

  • Jesco White – son of D. Ray and Bertie; a well-known mountain dancer, he was previously the subject of the documentary film The Dancing Outlaw.
  • Mamie White – oldest daughter of D. Ray and Bertie; girlfriend of Billy Hastings; she introduces the family at the start of the film. Mamie tells the story of her brother Dorsey White, who was shot in the face during a dispute with neighbors and lost an eye. He later died of an unintentional self-inflicted gunshot wound.[2] Mamie's boyfriend Billy Hastings is not related to the Whites, but he is a central figure in the family's past and present. His involvement in a dispute led to the shooting death of D. Ray White by Steve Roe.[3] His altercation with Brandon Poe is described in detail in the film.
  • Bo White – daughter of D. Ray and Bertie; mother of Kirk White and Derek Castle.
  • Poney White – the only one of D. Ray and Bertie's children to leave Boone County. He moved to Minneapolis and is a house painter.[4] Poney states he felt he needed to leave West Virginia to improve his life.
  • Sue Bob White – the youngest of D. Ray and Bertie's children; she is the mother of Brandon and Ashley Poe. (According to the website, Sue Bob was arrested shortly after filming ended, and has been in jail ever since.)[5]


  • Kirk White – daughter of Bo White; and sisters of Derek Castle. Kirk's children, Monica and Tylor, are featured in the film. She gives birth to a child during the film, and the child is taken away by Child Protective Services. Kirk checks herself into an alcohol and drug rehab facility in order to regain custody.
  • Derek Castle – son of Bo White; brother of Kirk White.
  • Brandon Poe – son of Sue Bob White; he is sentenced to 50 years in prison for the attempted murder of Billy Hastings.
  • Mousie White – eldest daughter of Mamie White; she is shown being released from prison.
  • Terri Lynn White – only daughter of Carly White; shown doing jello shooters at the courthouse. She's the tallest of the White clan.

Comments by other Locals[edit]

A group of local professionals in Boone County speak of the Whites, acting as a Greek chorus. Most of them criticize the Whites and their negative influence on the community.


The film received mixed-to-positive reviews, garnering a 63% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[6]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]