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Long Scenario Entitled "In the Days of Vancouver"

[Note: This scenario features an alternative film title and includes a number of scenes not included in other scenarios (Document 3) or the final film (such as the arrival of Captain Vancouver, a house building, an octopus hunt, and a Hamat'sa dance), leading us to believe that it was a preliminary version before shooting commenced in 1913. It was previously transcribed in Holm and Quimby's book on the film (1980: Appendix 2) with minor variations from the one included here, which we note below. It is unclear whether Holm and Quimby worked from the same manuscript now at the Getty Research Institute (GRI) or a slightly different version of it.]

[Twelve numbered manuscript pages]
[Note: The GRI manuscript begins with the following three paragraphs on one page, which are missing from Holm and Quimby. In fact, the GRI includes a few slightly different variations on this page of text scattered throughout the Curtis collection.]


Geography of picture: The shores of Vancouver Island. Rocky, abrupt shoreline; in places, open beach. Narrow waterways, many small islands, in places heavy surf. Shore-line practically a virgin forest. Trees of great size, undergrowth so dense that it makes a veritable jungle.

Tribes live in many small villages scattered here and there at the edge of the water on the bays and inlets. Natives large, vigorous, good-looking; temperament vicious and sensual; proud to a degree, saturated with superstition, wrapped in ritualistic forms. Constant intertribal and intervillage warfare. They were head-hunters, and cannibalistic. Travel wholly by canoe, large and small. Depend largely on the sea for food; fish, shellfish, seal, porpoise, whale. Skilled in working wood with primitive tools.

Clothing: Men wore a single blanket of fur or woven from the bark of cedar-bark. Women used same type of blanket, and also went about wearing simply a cedar-bark skirt. A rain cape - poncho-like - made from the cedar-bark, was used by both sexes. Great wealth of most extraordinary ceremonial costumes. These are largely the masked characters participating in the ceremonies. Warriors dressed in striking and distinctive ways. War implements were short spears which could be used in canoes, war- clubs, bows and arrows, and war slings. The last were used for throwing heavy stones a great distance.


A documentary picture of the Kwakiutl tribes, the natives of Vancouver Island.

Captain Vancouver visited this region in 1792. The picture treats the natives as seen by him at that time.

Made by Edward S. Curtis under the auspices of............... [Note: the version in Holm and Quimby does not include this line.]


SUB READER: (name of character and descriptive words)

Scene 1: Bust of first character.
(In this way treat some ten principal characters later to be seen in the picture. Examples: Tribal Chief; Pahala or Medicine-man; The Whale Medicine-man; The Chief' s daughter. Scenes 1 to 10 inc.)

READER: "The Invocation."

Scene 11: Young man on high cliff or promontory, making a large prayer-fire. Fire and figure outlined against the sky, the aim being to have a magnificent picture as well as one dramatically striking. Man is fasting, and implores the divine ones for a vision and spiritual power. Different visions may appear in smoke. Faster has dropped asleep, and in the smoke is seen a vision of a young woman. He awakes and exits.

READER: "The vision is a reality."

Scene 12: Faster stands on a rocky shore. Sees canoe approaching on water in background. The occupant is the chief's daughter, who now becomes the heroine. When she comes closer she looks at him, and he sees that she is the girl he saw in the vision. She paddles on, and out of picture to the side. He steps to water, unties canoe fastened to rock, and follows in the direction she took.

Scene 13: Two canoes landing. Chief's daughter and faster step out of them and walk toward forest. Sub-chief, a man of about forty, who is a pahala or evil medicine-man, is concealed behind rocks, and watches the lovers as they land and walk away.

Scene 14: Lovers in forest sitting on log or rock. Pahala is seen watching them from concealment in shrubbery.

READER: "Medicine-men plot to destroy the faster, so the Pahala can have the Chief's Daughter."

Scene 15: Scene in forest. Three or four men plotting against the life of the faster, one exits.

Scene 16: Man who left the group in scene 15 is seen speaking with a woman, asking her to help them. (Will now term her villainess.)

Scene 17: (Back to 15) Medicine men still there. Enter the one who appears
in 16. Shortly also the villainess. She is told what is wanted of her.

Scene 18: Hero again fasting. Villainess enters. Tells him of her love. He repulses
her, insisting that he has no love for her, and that he is not now thinking of women and the world, but of spiritual things. In anger she exits.

Scene 19: Night scene. Faster has dropped to sleep. Villainess slips up, cuts off a lock of his hair, and takes trinkets from his neck. She exits.

READER: "On awaking he realizes that articles have been taken from him for the purpose of destroying his life by sorcery."

Scene 20: Wakes up and discovers that hair and trinkets have been taken. He is filled with fear, knowing the purpose is to kill him.

Scene 21: (Back to medicine camp in forest) Enter villainess with lock of hair and other articles. Men take toads, cut them open, and insert hair, etc., in bodies of toads. Place one in notch of tree, and another in ashes of fire.

READER: "The formal marriage proposal."

Scene 22: Two important men of tribe and clansmen of the hero, dress as wolves, and carrying ornamental staffs go to the home of the chief's daughter, and propose that she be given in marriage to the youth. In this scene the men enter a canoe and start on their journey to the neighboring village.

Scene 23: Their landing. They exit toward village.

Scene 24: They enter home.

Scene 25: Inside. Girl's family know of their coming, and are prepared. Scene shows interior of important house with great totem house-posts. Exchange of tokens or pledges.

READER: "The marriage is arranged, and the parties being important ones, a new home establishment is decided upon."

Scene 26: Man cutting giant tree in forest, with primitive wedges and chisels. Tree falls.

Scene 27: Men begin to work trunk of tree into shape for house timbers.

Scene 28: Making planks.

Scene 29: Transporting timbers.

Scene 30: Carving totem houseposts.

READER: "Material assembled, the house is built."

Scene 31: Setting house-posts.

Scene 32: Raising supporting timbers into place. (These timbers are about twenty inches in diameter and eighty to a hundred feet in length.)

Scene 33: Placing outer planks.

Scene 34: Placing roof planks.

READER: "Ceremonial dedication of house."

Scene 35: Dedication (This can be made short by including but a few of the many parts of the dedication rite, or it can be made long by including many of the important dances. We will presume it to cover five parts of the ceremony.)

READER: "The Wedding Party."

Scene 36: This is a pageant-like ceremony. The groom, with many canoe-loads of tribesmen, goes to the village of the bride. In this scene the party assembles at the shore, in gala costume, and embarks.

Scene 37: Fleet of canoes passing.

Scene 38: Landing at the bride's village.

Scene 39 to 48 (inc): Details of marriage ceremony depend on individual clan or personal medicine, but make a picturesque affair in any form. We will presume this to include five scenes and five dances. The dances at night will close the day.

READER: "Rival village prepares for war."

Scene 49: Warriors assembling on beach, displaying war implements.

Scene 50: The embarkment, which is in a measure ceremonial and according to fixed forms. Female relatives stand upon beach.

READER: "The attack upon the fishing party."

Scene 51: (As the party continues on its way they from time to time sight small parties and destroy or capture them. The object is to show the different activities as well as to give a true story of a war expedition.) In this scene we first see fishing party of men and women in small bay. Suddenly they see war canoes beating down upon them. They start to escape. War canoes follow and overtake fleeing fisher folk. Fight occurs in canoes. People in fishing canoes are killed or captured. The capsized canoes are seen floating on the water. (Killing is done in such a way that it cannot offend -- handled as war, not as murder.) Captives are taken hands and feet tied, and thrown into war canoes.

READER: "The devilfish catchers."

Scene 52: A party on a rocky shore, hunting devilfish. These fish live in burrows under large boulders, covered at high or medium tide and exposed at low water. The natives capture them by punching into the holes with small poles, until the angered creatures rush out. Picture should show enough of the octopus capture to get the attention of the audience. Then the approaching war party will be sighted. The octopus hunters, men and boys, flee to the forest. The war party lands, and follows. No killing is seen but heads are brought back and thrown into canoes. Two youths who were with fishermen are brought out as captives, to be kept as slaves.

READER: "The Clam Diggers."

Scene 53: Party on shore digging clams, mostly women. Some young and good looking. On sighting war party, all flee to forest. Pursued by warriors. (Flash.) Warriors merge from forest, with prisoners and perhaps a few heads. Prisoners are women, and are tied hand and foot. Are usually carried by throwing over the shoulders like sacks of flour. At times they are allowed to walk, but are hand tied, and led by ropes.

READER: "The attack upon the village."

Scene 54: (This is the village where the wedding occurred.) The war party has heard of the beautiful daughter of the chief, and each of the head men is secretly desirous of being the one to capture her. It is a night scene. The war party brings canoes close to the shore, and begins the attack. Implements are slings, bows and arrows, spears, and clubs. Also some of the men carry boxes containing fire, in order to set fire to the house. A vigorous attack is made upon the village.

Scene 55: Interior of house during pillage.

Scene 56: Chief's daughter is captured and carried away, to canoe.

Scene 57: A rival warrior steals the Chief's daughter and takes her to his canoe. A scrimmage between the two warriors, and the Captive is taken to the canoe of her original captor.

Scene 58: Village burning. This effect can be accomplished by burning one of the large houses.

READER: "Friends find the young man and save his life."

Scene 59: Opens with young man (seen in fasting pictures) wounded lying in underbrush. Friends, who have also escaped, find him, make him comfortable, and start building rude shelter.

READER: "The coming of Vancouver, at the village from which the war party started."

SUB-READER: "The Sing Gamble Game."

Scene 60: Group of eight or ten men are playing this game, which is a particularly vigorous one. Men are nude except for loin-cloth. Women and children come up and look on. Youth enters in great excitement, falling. Too excited to tell story. Finally makes it known that he has seen approaching a great monster. All exit toward promontory.

Scene 61: Party gathers on high bluff overlooking bay. They mill about, and at last form statuesque group, all gazing out to sea.

Scene 62: Vancouver's ship is seen in the distance, sails up, and nearing village. As they come fairly close sails are dropped, and ship anchors.

Scene 63: Explorers approach shore in small boat and land. Indians come down to them, but show much fear. Gifts are distributed. Indians invite the explorers to enter the village. All exit.

Scene 64: Indians are seen showing explorers the village, and its totem poles. [Note: this scene is missing from Holm and Quimby.]


READER: "War party returns."

Scene 65: Great excitement in village. Indians accompanied by explorers run toward the shore.

Scene 66: Village party on shore, watching fleet of canoes as it enters bay. This gives us a picture showing the ceremony in connection with the return of a victorious war party.

Scene 67: War party walking toward village. Slaves are being led or dragged, heads carried, and the bodies of comrades who have been killed in battle are borne to the village.

Scene 68: Party enters great ceremonial house.

READER: "Dance of Victory."

Scene 69: Different individual dances are shown.

Scene 70: Captive girl (chief's daughter) is brought forward, and there is considerable discussion as to what is to be done with her. Many demand her life, owing to the injury which has in the past been inflicted upon them by her father. Her captor, the head chief, decides to have her dance, in order to determine whether she is really sufficiently attractive to be spared. She is a beautiful dancer, and this brings in one of the most effective of their dances. She proves so attractive that her life is to be spared.

READER: "Preparing their dead for burial."

Scene 71: Burial party. Large party of canoes going to the island of the dead.

Scene 72: Landing of burial party, and placing coffins in trees.

READER: "Vancouver spends day in sight-seeing."

Scene 73: Cooking in wooden utensils by use of hot stones.

Scene 74: Flattening heads of infants.

Scene 75: Weaving and decorating hats. [Note: Holm and Quimby list this line as "illegible."]


Scene 76: Placing totem pole, ceremonials.

Scene 77: Weaving blankets.

Scene 78: Curing fish.

Scene 79: Totem house front. Toward the end of the day explorers are shown entrance of one of their great ceremonial houses, the doorway of which is some strange, grotesque bird. This is a mechanical contrivance worked by men in concealment. As a person approaches it, the beak or mouth opens, and the man steps in. He is apparently swallowed. And so on, one person after another. On this night there is to be a great dance. It is the season when they naturally give their ceremonial dances, and they start it now, that the explorers may see the strange rites.

Scene 80: Messengers going about village announcing the ceremony.

Scene 81: The hamatsa or mummy-eating priest, in the forest preparing mummy.

Scene 82: The hamatsa dancing on his emergence from forest.

Scene 83: The hamatsa entering house with mummy.

Scene 84: Hamatsa dancing in house.

Scenes 85 to 94: Other dances are now given, many being striking trick performances, such as burning people alive. Give perhaps ten such.

Scene 95: At end of night ceremony Vancouver's men are seen to go to small boats and row toward ship.

READER: "Exploring party sails."

Scene 96: Morning scene, ship weighs anchor and departs. Many Indian canoes about, watching them.

Scene 97: While natives are watching explorers depart, chief's daughter slips from room, unties young slave, and tells him to go to their home with a message that she is alive and in the chief' s house, and that she will each night try to leave the secret door unfastened, that her husband can come and steal her away.

Scene 98: Boy slips away.

Scene 99: Takes canoe and is gone.

Scene 100: He comes to home village, gives package and message to the husband, who has practically recovered. The husband urges his companions to go with him to retake his wife. They agree to do so. Small slave boy goes with them to show the way.

Scene 101: Party starts in canoes.

Scene 102: Landing at night. Husband and boy slip away, others stay with canoe.

Scene 103: Inside view of room where chief's daughter sleeps. Chief and the woman are shown, both apparently asleep. Woman cautiously raises up to make certain that the man is sleeping, then slips from couch, and unfastens small door. Again lies down. Soon she hears the door open. Young husband cautiously enters. They slip out together.

Scene 104: They enter canoe and start flight.

Scene 105: Sleeping room again. Chief wakes up, misses woman, sees open door, is very angry.

Scene 106: Wakes up other occupants of the house.

Scene 107: Ten or twelve men rush from house and go to canoe. On the moonlit water they have a glimpse of the fleeing canoe.

Scene 108: Pursuers quickly take canoes and start.

Scene 109: Fugitives realize that they are followed, and in desperation turn side to try to escape through whirlpool rapids.

Scene 110: Pursuers reach the promontory at turning point, and hesitate at attempting such rough water. Chief urges them to do so.

Scene 111: Fugitives are seen shooting through rapids.

Scene 112: Pursuing canoe is seen entering the bad water. They hit a rock, turn over, and are drowned.


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