Thrilling Tales: Lewis & Clark


A Film by Ken Burns 1997. About the first crossing of the American continent (by Europeans) in 1804-6. We have spent the last two nights simply mesmerised by this amazing documentary. Ken Burns is always such a treat! (You probably remember his grand documentary about The Civil War). The scenery and photography were superb. It has hard to credit that there are/remain places of such astounding beauty in the world/America. That is aside from the gripping tale of achievement and heroism incredibly well told by compelling narrators/commentators. If you love the wilderness, do acquire a copy of it; I’m sure you will find it as much a treat as we did. It can be downloaded here:×1-720p-mvgroup-t7654424.html &

Other lessons from the film: early on in their journey (within the first month), Lewis had cause to have a small number of the party (which numbered three dozen men including one African American, and later one woman!) punished by lashing. One man, guilty of a capital crime (lying down and falling asleep on watch ie endangering the lives of the entire expedition) lashed 100 times! No other punishments were needed throughout the ensuing three years. Indeed the group was enormously cohesive and successful. Only one died (a victim of a disease which could not be treated in Washington either). Many (like the famous John Colter – the first ‘mountain man’) returned to the wilderness afterwards. Today we expend huge funds and manpower on the ‘justice system’ without any such positive results. See also: &

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