The One That Got Away

American country music duo The Civil Wars has released a music video for “The One That Got Away”, telling the story of a young woman (Claudia Davila) traveling on freight trains across the heartland looking for work, and experiencing life on the outer edge of civilization. Shot in the Ozark Mountains along the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad, a 150-mile route connecting Fort Smith, Arkansas, with Monett, Missouri, the music video is filled with scenes shot in the wreckage of May’s devastating E-F5 tornado. The track is the first single from the Grammy-winning group’s new self-titled album which was released on August 2. Unfortunately the band has been in hiatus since recording the album, due to differences between duo Joy Williams John Paul White.

The One That Got Away

Film director Tom Haines talks about the thinking behind the music video.

“I’ve always wanted to shoot a film based around train hopping. We tested the idea with the label, Joy and John Paul, and everyone felt like it could work, as it somehow reflected the ideas of loss, regret and transience which echo in the song. When they understood it would be panoramic in scope, full of faces and landscapes that reflect the tones in the music without being too prescriptive, John Paul and Joy were really into it.

Director Tom Haines director of The One That Got Away music video

Haines described the process as being difficult but also incredibly rewarding. For example, during the scene where a house is torn down, Haines had an emotional conversation with the home’s owner.

“People love to talk in that part of the world, they have great stories and yarns; I felt like I was in a Cormac McCarthy novel. The chap who dies in the film is an old Rodeo clown called Norman. He’s got throat cancer and is not long for this world, but his eyes lit up when he saw an opportunity to be in this video.

Director Tom Haines director of The One That Got Away music video with film crew and locals

For principal photography, the team used the ARRI Alexa Digital Camera System with anamorphic lenses. As one tribute to the project’s powerful, cinematic storytelling, it has now been chosen as an official Vimeo Staff Pick.


The music video was commissioned by Saul Levitz at Colombia Records label Sensibility. Filming was shot by director Tom Haines via Cap Gun Collective with executive producer Jason Botkin, producer Anne Johnson, director of photography Lol Crawley, editor Julian Eguiguren at Final Cut, and colourist James Tillett at MPC London.

Location photography by Jason Botkin, Cap Gun Collective.