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Western Americana

June 2024
1min read

Fur Trappers Westward (Arthur Barr Productions, 1265 Bresee Avenue, Pasadena 7, Calif.) is one of the outstanding motion picture interpretations of an historic subject. It meticulously follows the life of the early Nineteenth-Century “mountain men” from the keelboat journey up the Missouri River to the rendezvous for disposing of the catch of furs. Set against colorfully impressive scenery, the film illustrates clearly the methods of operation of the trappers, their activities, their hardships, and the dangers confronting them. Every aspect of the film—photography, narration, and characterization—stamps it as a magnificent explanation and an unsurpassed teaching tool.

The role of the cowboy in the West also receives a close examination, this time in the filmstrip The Last Frontier (Museum Extension Service, 10 East 43rd Street, N.Y. 17). Life on the cattle range is clearly depicted in the drawings of Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell, and other contemporary illustrators. Accompanying these well-selected and carefully reproduced pictorial materials is a written text by other firsthand observers. While there may be some question as to the historical accuracy of the title, the filmstrip, nevertheless, concludes with a brief account of the conflict between cattlemen and homesteaders.

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