Thus ≠Oma Tsamkxao, a Ju/'hoan hunter of the Kalahari Desert, recalls his first encounter with the ethnographic filmmaker, John Marshall, in 1951. John, his sister, and their parents had come to the Kalahari to study the last independent hunter-gatherers in southern Africa. A FAR COUNTRY documents the lives of the Ju/'hoansi engaged in their ancient economy based on hunting game with poisoned arrows and gathering wild bush foods. The film also chronicles the early years of a relationship between the Marshall family and the Ju/'hoansi that would last for more than a half century.
In their own words, ≠Oma, his wife !U, and members of their extended family relate their personal histories and describe Ju/'hoan society. ≠Oma recounts the tale of a days-long giraffe hunt. We learn that the maker of the arrow that kills the giraffe owns the meat and determines how it is divided. But, !U counters, "Women do important things, just like men. It's we women who fed the people." And indeed, the Marshalls learn that bush-foods gathered by women and girls provided 80% of the Ju/'hoan diet.
Ju/'hoansi were self-sufficient in the 1950s, but the old life was hard. "We were owners of thirst and owners of hunger," says ≠Oma. And as the film ends, many Ju/'hoansi are imagining a different life.