Film: 5215

Places + Locations | 1950 | Sound | B/W


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A film about the new frontier farmlands in Canada, focusing on the Peace River District in Alberta where new immigrants and rich soil are forming a prospering area of towns and farms.1950's

'A modern frontier'. Rocky mountains with snow on their peaks and a small river running through a valley, the source of the Peace River. The horizontally slanted rocky peaks of the mountains. More mountain peaks over the tree tops, much of this land has been made into national parks because of its natural beauty.
A tree trunk, then a grizzly bear which ambles over a grassy slope and disappears. The grizzly walks in a field on a mountainside. The bear stands and looks around in front of a stand of trees and waddles away from us, national parks are protected areas for wildlife.
A large glacier in the Rocky Mountains surrounded by mountains. A waterfall out of a lake below a huge stone mountain. The waterfall flows into a river. A small rocky creek bed. A map of the West Coast of Canada, highlighting the Rocky Mountains, a divide between the rivers that run west and those which run east or north, among the later is the Peace River, in the province of Alberta, the map concentrates on the Peace River district.
The Peace River flows through low hills beside a small town, only recently built. Two girls walk up a hill towards us above the river and the town. A man and a woman walk in a meadow on the river plains. Two men walk beside a field harvested for wheat, the straw lies in neatly piled stacks at equal intervals. The wind blows a field of wheat, ripened by the long hours of summer sunlight. Heads of barley or rye wave in the breeze. Stalks of oats wave in the breeze. Stalks of wheat bend and sway. A different grain moves with the wind, the entire field seems to move. A town beside the River, trees bend as the wind blows. The small trees blow in the wind, the only cover over the productive soil of the region.
Larger trees cover a narrow path. A bulldozer pushes over several trees in a thin forest, logging supported by the government to encourage settlement of the area. The front blade of a bulldozer runs into a tree and knocks it over. Slag and destroyed logs are cleared by a bull dozer, the bull dozer passes, operated by a young man, to reveal the flat hills of the area. Tractors and disc breakers loosen the soil, preparing it for crops. The construction site of a new home, one man is on the roof frames, two people pass him a plank of wood, a woman saws. A man and his daughter put on the siding of the house. A young woman marks a line on a board with a pencil and then begins to saw. A half completed barn, behind a pile of hay, two men work on the roof. The lower man passes up a board to the man on the ridgepole.
A grass road emerges from a grove of trees. A stand of trees. A horse drawn wagon moves along the path. The wagon is loaded heavily with household instruments and animals, another man follows behind, this is Roy and Ina Griswood, two Norwegians who trained with the Canadian Navy during the Second World War. The wagon emerges from the trees, the driver stops the horses, he gestures to his brother to chop down a tree in the path. The driver hands his brother an axe and he begins to chop the tree down. The brothers arrive on their plot of land, conditionally given to them by the Canadian federal government. The driver leaps down from the wagon, the younger brother unhitches the horses and drives them away from the wagon. The driver takes the canvas cover off the wagon and takes down a crate of chickens, he unties the cow from the back of the wagon, one of the things purchased with the $2000 given to veterans by the Government of Canada to set up their farm, he leads the cow away.
An old campfire burns low. The older brother emerges from the tent while the other washes his face in a large bowl, the older brother goes over to a barrel and draws some water. The younger brother with blonde hair towels his face and neck off. The older brother walks towards the fire with a metal coffee pot and a stick of wood, he puts the pot on the fire and the younger brother hands him a frying pan and two eggs, then throws the wash water over to the side of the camp, the older brother breaks the eggs into the frying pan and holds it out over the fire.
The blonde brother energetically chops down trees. The trunk of a tree with the axe repeatedly cutting into the trunk, the tree falls and the axe moves on to the next one. A tractor turns over the soil, taking out tree roots. The blade of the tractor cuts into the soil. The older brother drives the borrowed tractor.
The older brother walks up a ladder to the roof of an almost completed house, the older brother puts down his load of wooden shingles. He takes a couple of wooden shakes and then walks over to a spot on the roof that has none and begins to nail them in place. The blonde brother walks along the edge of a field of grain, his older brother follows behind. The two brothers turn to each other and worriedly look at the sky. Darker clouds move across the sky. The two brothers continue looking up. The hands of the blonde brother play with stalks of grain. The two brothers stand at the edge of the field.
A field of grain in front of six grain elevators, a symbol of rich farmland. A man in a horse and buggy drives on a road beside the grain elevators. Seven grain elevators where grain is stored before shipping. Two grain stores marked 'Alberta Pool Elevators Grande Prairie.'
A town street lined with cars, a horse and buggy is passed by a car. A 'Herald-Tribune' signs, Grande Prairie's weekly newspaper. A paper boy enters the newspaper office, he packs his bag with papers as a newspaper employee watches him while working. Two men walk towards the Herald-Tribune office building as the young boy emerges from the door. The Royal Bank of Canada on the corner of a street. A garage which deals with tractors as well as cars, signage on the building includes 'Ford'.
A man on the back of an open air delivery truck passes metal milk containers to a man in white who stacks them on top of each other, the newspaper boy arrives and gives a paper to the man in white.
A man drives out of a building marked 'Car Supply Company of Canada Limited,' the newspaper boy approaches him as he loads a box into the box of his pickup truck, another man comes out carrying a large tire, the boy hands him a newspaper.
A radio station building. 'CFGP 1050 on your Dial, Voice of the Mighty Peace.' The control centre of the radio station, a man adjusts dials as another man behind him in a glass booth speaks into a microphone, the man in front of the dial takes off his earphones as the paperboy comes in to deliver the paper. The radio announcer reads the public announcements directed to individual people. The Radio technician and the paper boy chat, the paper boy leaves and the technician continues with his job.
A school house in the middle of a prairie. A one-room school house, the teacher sits at his small desk as a young girl writes on the blackboard. Students study attentively. The young girl returns to her seat. Providing education is difficult on a modern frontier, the male teacher rises and dismisses class, the students rise and make ready to leave while it is still daylight. The door of the school house opens and students pour through.
A brother and his little sister walk across the grassy field on their way home, they live near the school. A boy hitches a horse to a two seated buggy, he leaves several miles from the school. A girls brings a black horse out of a stable, a boy on the back of a brown horse follows her out the door, bending his head to avoid being scrapped off at the door, another horse begins to follow. The girls, now astride her horse and the boy with the buggy stand in front of the stable, as the younger children emerge from the stable they all set off home on the grassy roads, as the community grows, a bus will be provided. The boy in the buggy drives away from us down a dirt road.
The brother and sister on horseback accompanied by their dog ride over a grassy field towards the trees which surround a river bed.
A farmyard, well built with large barns, a man on a piece of farm machinery is pulled behind a horse on a field in front. This is the Watson farm, one of the early families in the area who now prosper. A woman works in the garden, her daughter approaches behind her, the mother picks rhubarb, the daughter, Shirley, speaks to her mother and walk further into the vegetable garden behind her. Shirley walks along a path in the garden, she begins to pick carrots, a strong chinook wind blows, Shirley continues to pick carrots. Mr. Watson chops firewood, his son collects the cut wood and brings it to the house. Close up of Mr. Watson as he works cutting wood. Shirley and Mrs. Watson approach the house with their vegetables in baskets, Shirley runs ahead to open the door for her mother, they enter the house. Shirley brings the carrots to the sink in the kitchen, she puts the basin of carrots on the counter beside the sink, she begins to cut off the tops of the carrots with a knife. Mrs. Watson opens the stove and checks the bread baking inside. The bread bakes in the oven, the oven door closes. Mrs. Watson takes a piece of wood and puts it in the stove. Shirley finishes topping the carrots and brings the basin from the sink, she pumps water into the basin to wash the carrots.
The Watson's son takes an armful of greens from a box and spread them on the ground of a large pig pen, his dog watches and the horse waits patiently, hitched to the box. The boy's face as he works. Two large hogs eat the greens.
Cattle are driven towards a holding pen by Shirley and her brother on horseback. Shirley meets her brother on their horses on a hilltop, she points him in one direction and she rides in the other. A group of cows stand grazing in front of a stand of trees in front of a stand of trees, Shirley approaches from one side, her brother from the other, they herd the cows towards us. Shirley approaches a gate, leans off her horse to open it and pulls it open. Shirley pushes back the gate and the cows walk into the pen from behind her. The cows enter the open door of a barn. The last of the cows enters the farmyard and Shirley's brother comes after them. Shirley come and secures the gate behind them. Mr. Watson talks to his son as they stand beside a tractor, the boy disappears and Mr Watson mounts the piece of farm machinery, the boy gets on a piece of machinery attached to the tractor. He puts safety goggles on and takes hold of the controls. The machinery moves towards us, the mother works on a piece of farm machinery behind them. The large piece of equipment progresses up the field. Two reapers and combines harvest a field. A combine is driven around a corner by a young boy, it harvests, threshes and throws out the straw to dry in one continuous operation. Mechanized farming is the norm in the Peace River. The young boy drives the combine. Another boy drives a combine. Another combine harvests a field accompanied by a grain truck. A reaper pulled by horses cuts wheat, so it can ripen in the field. The four horses and the reaper work, driven by a young boy. A hay wagon approaches a threshing machine. A man with an oil can on top of the machine oils a chain and then another part of the machine. Two men throw sheaves of wheat onto a conveyor belt. Wheat sheaves enter the threshing machine on a conveyor belt. Straw is blown out of the machine onto an already big pile as the men work on the machine, they are neighbours for whom the Watson's will work for harvesting their crops in turn. A large field in front of grain elevators, triangular stacks of sheaves of wheat cover the field, ripening and waiting to the threshed.
Three grain elevators. A grain truck enters the grain elevator, directed by a man, who turns to follow the truck. A man in a hat looks at a chart on a blackboard, the other man approaches, puts his foot on a lever and pushes down. A funnel moves towards us, transferring the funnel tip to one of 14 holes in the floor for the different grades of wheat. The man turns a wheel. The pipe funnel mouth settles in a hole. The man in the hat opens the back door of the grain wagon and grain comes pouring out, the box of the truck tilts backwards. A wheel with shovels attached to it begins to turn upwards, carrying grain to the top of the elevator. Grain falls into an elevator through the mouth of a pipe, dust fills the air. Grain continues to pour out of the truck.
People dressed in their Sunday clothes walk along the sidewalk to a modest church building. A man and woman walk up the steps to the church, more people follow them. A church choir sings, dressed in white and directed by a woman standing in front of them. Boys in the choir sing. The congregation sings at the Thanksgiving church service. The Watson family sings in the front pew of the church. The Griswood brothers help in singing O Canada.
A reaper moves down a field of grain. Roy and Ina stand looking over their farm, the year has been difficult but a good start for them. They walk along the edge of their first field followed by their dog. They approach a piece of farm equipment, the blonde brother mounts the seat. The older brother gets on the tractor and starts the machines working. They proceed down the field, away from us. A map of Canada and the United States, the Peace River district is highlighted by a bright circle. Credits.

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