Film: 361

Social History | 1950 | Sound | B/W

Synopsis:

Pioneers of Kentucky
Opening shots of valley with dense covering of foliage and trees. Shots of hillside with outcrop of rock prominent. Scene of early family settlers from 1720s. Dress appropriate to the time, with old fashioned rifles, hats breeches(trousers) accompanied by cattle and horses, with baskets laden with household goods. Various shots of the group making their way through the forest heading North-West. Title sequence suggests this reconstruction was shot in the Pioneer Memorial State Park, Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Head shots of women with traditional hats on(reminiscent of the Amish). Shot of group crossing stream. Voiceover details the forest contents as, Walnut Cherry, Hickory and Oak. Shot of group climbing hill and entering glade. Group examine site of Indian attack, salvage a kettle from the site and press on. Further shots of group passing through glade with sunlight filtering through the trees. Shots of campfire and preparation of food. Several days later group arrive at bluegrass country and a fort called Harod Station. This station outpost of the frontier in 1775. Shots of the interior and exterior of the station including lookout dressed in clothes made of animal skin. Close-up of this man with fur hat. Shots of inside of fort (enclosure) with houses constructed from timber. Shots of goats and sheep and the residents of the fort. Young girl feeding chickens. Further shot of look-out signalling to the group who we see arriving at the fort. Shot of the interior of timber house with young boy removing pail from wall. Shot of women making butter in a church in front of a fire with a small baby in a crib. Shot of a woman preparing soup in front of fire.
Young girl winds balls of rags. Another fills a wooden water bucket at a spring. Young boy dressed in traditional pioneer clothes milks a cow in a glade. Further shots of animals, including sheep, a pig in a trough(which falls over)and shots of girl feeding chicken. Shots of lime or lye extracted from wood being stirred into a kettle with boiling animal fat to make substance used to launder clothes and for other household uses. Shot of fort carpenter. Exterior of house and interior with tools being used and displayed on wall. Shots of implements to be used for arable farming, plough, drill, axe, and the making of a stool. Shots of the interior of the fort's schoolhouse with school teacher and children present. Shot of the children being given rudimentary introduction to the alphabet. Shot of woman at her loom weaving cloth. Woman takes up a kettle of melting tallow which she pours in a mould to make candles. Various brief shots of candles, chicken and corn being prepared for country dance at fort. Shots of people dancing, a man playing the fiddle. Shots of children and adults tapping their feet. Shots of candles and lookout holding midnight vigil. Shots of man and young boy felling trees in preparation for the construction of a log cabin. Shots of field being ploughed in preparation for the planting of the corn crop. Shots of the Taylor family leaving the fort. Shot of family crossing skyline at dusk. Taylors arrive at their new home and the smoke rises into the sky from their chimney.

Note : "There will always be freedom out there" This is a quote taken directly from thr end of the film. This gives the film an almost post McCarthyite flavour which the rest of the film manages to avoid doing. Clearly designed for use in the classroom the director has managed to capture some beautiful images paticular in the wooded glade sequences. Despite being a reconstruction it should be feasible to use the shots of the dance acted by untrained actors.


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