The hard-eyed view along the Tug Fork River in West Virginia coal country is that President-elect Donald Trump has something to prove: that he'll help bring back Appalachian mining, as he promised campaigning.
Nobody thinks he can revive it entirely — not economists, not ex-miners, not even those recently called back to work.
But coal towns are seeing one commodity that had grown scarce: measured hope.
Trump vowed to undo looming federal rules threatening to further drive coal under.
Last year, the nation had about 66,000 coal mining jobs — down 20,000 in less than a decade.
Mines out west stand to gain the most with huge coal reserves beneath public lands.
Industry executives caution that competition from low natural gas prices and pressure to cut smokestack emissions will continue.