Documentary profiling the life of legendary country music star Johnny Cash, who died in 2003 shortly after completing the retrospective Unearthed, a five-CD set of the acoustic performances with which he resurrected his career in the last decade of his life, and after losing his wife, June Carter Cash.
This first major retrospective of Cash's life, times and music features contributions from his daughter Rosanne Cash and son John Carter Cash, his longtime manager Lou Robin and fellow musicians including Little Richard, Cowboy Jack Clement, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard and Elvis Costello.
Cash was the son of a poor sharecropper from Kingsland, Arkansas, who sang folk, spiritual and country songs to himself while picking cotton in the fields. In the 50s he signed to Sam Phillips' Sun Records, scored his first hits and was part of the 'Million Dollar Quartet' with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.
In the 60s, he created his famous 'Man in Black' persona, and became a huge country star with hits like Folsom Prison Blues, Ring of Fire, I Walk the Line and A Boy Named Sue, while torn between drug dependency, hellraising and a powerful spirituality. Cash had long since established himself as a man of the people with his prison concerts beginning with an incendiary performance at San Quentin in 1958.
He ended the decade by finally marrying June Carter - a member of hugely influential US country dynasty the Carter Family - launching his own national TV series from Nashville, befriending the Native American movement and opposing the war in Vietnam while playing concerts for the soldiers in the field.
After tough times in the 80s, Cash reignited his career with a new young audience in the 90s when he recorded with rap-rock producer Rick Rubin.