The downtown in the Pocahontas County of Laurens was seen in the 1999 Disney film The Straight Story, which chronicled the six-week, 240-mile lawnmower trip taken by resident Alvin Straight to visit his brother in Mount Zion, Wisconsin in the summer of 1994. The film, which was shot in sequential order along the actual route taken by the Laurens resident, was generally praised by critics and received a number of awards and nominations, including a Best Actor Oscar nomination for lead actor Richard Farnsworth.
Following his tractor trip to Wisconsin, Straight attempted a longer trip to Idaho in July 1996. After 400 miles of riding, near the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in western South Dakota, Straight was found in his tractor suffering from dehydration and severe sunburn. He never fully recovered, later suffering a stroke and ultimately passing away in November 1996.