These bleak pictures appear to show America in the grip of the 1920s Great Depression. The reality is that they were taken in the 1960s, in a lonely valley in Eastern Kentucky long forgotten by affluent America.
For generations, poets and musicians like Patsy Cline were inspired by the beauty of a land that covers 13 states and where towns are called 'Lovely,' 'Beauty' and 'Kingdom Come.'
But the harsh reality, as these pictures taken by John Dominis show, was that the people of Appalachia sustained themselves on a bare government subsistence, were ridden with diseases and lived in shacks.
An Appalachian mother clutches her sleeping child while staring into the distance as her other children play around her
Father and son work on the railway track to earn money to feed their family. 60 per cent of families in Appalachian Kentucky were living below the poverty line
The average Appalachian family income of $841 was more than a third lower than the national average. Here a mother looks anxiously as her children eat dinner
An Appalachian man leans against a shelf clutching a cup. The men had little work after the region's mining industry collapsed
A woman hanging out her family's washing during the harsh winter in eastern Kentucky
Dominis’ photos appeared as a 12-page feature in a 1964 issue of LIFE magazine, titled 'The Valley of Poverty'
A woman and her family trudging across a rickety suspension bridge over a sewage-polluted stream towards their two-room shack with its two outhouses in this poverty-stricken area of Appalachia
The wet climate of the Appalachian Mountains caused rot to set into the wooden homes (pictured) and made repairs virtually impossible because the old wood couldn't support new wood
A young boy being washed in a metal tub by his mother
Appalachia stretches from northern Alabama to southern Pennsylvania. In the late 19th century, expansion of the country's railroads brought an increased demand for coal to fuel the trains. Entire communities became dependent on the industry which disappeared as fast as it arrived
In the original LIFE article in 1964, words that accompanied the pictures included: 'Their homes are shacks without plumbing or sanitation. Their landscape is a man-made desolation of corrugated hills and hollows laced with polluted streams'
A man being baptised in a stream in Appalachia. He can be seen covering his mouth as the water was heavily polluted
child with its bottle in the poverty-stricken region of Appalachia
Children looking scruffy but relatively happy outside their home
A mothers feeds her baby by a roaring fire as her husband looks on
Children learning at an Appalachian school in the 1960s