Daniel Woodrell is an exellent writer, and I liked both the movie and the book. However, I have to agree with Dick from Blue Eye, Missouri, who, in the Mail Box section of the current issue of the Ozarks Mountaineer magazine, said that if the characterizations in the movie are true to Ozarks life, "those people need to stop reproducing immediately."
I think the type of people portrayed in Winter's Bone do exist in the Ozarks, and I would even agree that they might be more prevalent in the Ozarks than in some other parts of the country. However, I think what Winter's Bone does is give credence to the idea that violent, clannish people are common and, indeed, almost the norm in the Ozarks.
Although the fact that the people in Winter's Bone are involved in the illegal production, sale, and use of meth obviously contributes to their insularity and their suspicion of outsiders, the way they are portrayed in both the book and the movie, I think, still perpetuates the stereotype of Ozarkians as hillbillies. The only difference between now and a hundred years ago is that, instead of running moonshine stills, these modern-day hillbillies are manufacturing meth.
The fact is that, even though meth production and trade in Missouri and the Ozarks has become what law enforcement calls an epidemic, very few entire clans are involved in the activity as the Dollys are in Winter's Bone, and most people in the Ozarks, even those in isolated areas, are friendly and welcoming.