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HISTORY

The Biograph catalog summarized this film as follows: “This subject is a production upon which was spent a great deal of time and money. It was taken amid scenery of the wildest natural beauty and enacted with the greatest possible fidelity to the original. The costumes, arms, log cabins, etc., are all historically correct. The story embodies the adventures of the greatest of all the American scouts and pathfinders, ‘Kit Carson,’ his life in the wilderness, his hand-to-hand conflicts with the savage Indians, his hairbreadth escapes and his safe return to his log cabin home in the clearing. The subject is absolutely a novelty in moving pictures. 1. MORNING IN THE WILDERNESS. As the dawn breaks, Kit Carson and his fellow trapper are seen awakening from their pine bough couches. They wash at the brook, start a fire and prepare their frugal meal. This finished, they remove all trace of the fire, arrange their packs, take their rifles and start off into the depths of the forest. 2. INDIANS FIND THE TRAIL. The same scene. The trappers have departed and a band of painted Indians appear. They discover the trail of the trappers, and after a brief conference start out after them. 3. IN CAMP FOR THE NIGHT. Here we see Kit Carson and his companion, fatigued by the weary tramp of the day, locating their camp by the side of another stream. The evening meal is cooked and the trappers lie down to sleep. 4. THE NIGHT ATTACK. While Kit and his companion are asleep, the Indians make their treacherous attack. The fight is short and bloody. Three of the savages are laid low, ... More Less

The Biograph catalog summarized this film as follows: “This subject is a production upon which was spent a great deal of time and money. It was taken amid scenery of the wildest natural beauty and enacted with the greatest possible fidelity to the original. The costumes, arms, log cabins, etc., are all historically correct. The story embodies the adventures of the greatest of all the American scouts and pathfinders, ‘Kit Carson,’ his life in the wilderness, his hand-to-hand conflicts with the savage Indians, his hairbreadth escapes and his safe return to his log cabin home in the clearing. The subject is absolutely a novelty in moving pictures. 1. MORNING IN THE WILDERNESS. As the dawn breaks, Kit Carson and his fellow trapper are seen awakening from their pine bough couches. They wash at the brook, start a fire and prepare their frugal meal. This finished, they remove all trace of the fire, arrange their packs, take their rifles and start off into the depths of the forest. 2. INDIANS FIND THE TRAIL. The same scene. The trappers have departed and a band of painted Indians appear. They discover the trail of the trappers, and after a brief conference start out after them. 3. IN CAMP FOR THE NIGHT. Here we see Kit Carson and his companion, fatigued by the weary tramp of the day, locating their camp by the side of another stream. The evening meal is cooked and the trappers lie down to sleep. 4. THE NIGHT ATTACK. While Kit and his companion are asleep, the Indians make their treacherous attack. The fight is short and bloody. Three of the savages are laid low, but Kit's companion is killed and Kit himself after a terrific struggle, is taken captive and bound. 5. OVER THE LOG. Here we see the exultant savages and their captive threading their way through the dense growth of the forest. They come to a stream which is spanned by a large birch log. Over this the Indians pass in single file, followed by Kit, his arms bound but all senses alert. One buck brings up the rear. As Kit reaches the center of the log, he engages the attention of the buck for an instant, then quick as a flash topples him into the water, and springing into the water on the opposite side, Kit is lost to view. The other Indians come running back and plunge through the water in their eager search for Kit. 6. THE CANOE CHASE. A wild river. On either side immense pine trees. Around a distant turn Kit is seen coming in his canoe, paddling for dear life. He is followed by three other canoes, filled with Indians, all paddling desperately. Kit fires at the foremost canoe and all disappear around another bend of the river. 7. ARRIVAL OF THE INDIAN SCOUT. Farther down the river an Indian scout is seen rapidly approaching in his canoe. He runs his frail craft ashore and tells his companions of the coming of Kit. 8. ATTACK ON CANOE AND SECOND CAPTURE OF KIT. The Indians who have been warned in the preceding scene hide in ambush. Kit comes along in his canoe unconscious of this new danger. As he comes opposite the ambush, the savages, naked save for their breech-clothes, jump into the water, overturn the canoe, and after another thrilling conflict the intrepid Kit is again a prisoner. 9. IN THE INDIAN CAMP. This is a remarkable scene. Here we have the Indian village, with its skin-covered tepees. Squaws and their papooses, young bucks and Indian maidens are seen at their various occupations. Here we have real Indian life. Kit is brought into camp by his captors and his advent creates great excitement. He is tied to a tree and subjected to various tortures and indignities, which he bears with undaunted mein. Even when tomahawks are hurled at his head he does not falter. Night comes, and the life of the village is stilled. Kit is guarded by one brave, who sleeps on his rifle by the fire. Death seems very near, but help is near at hand. An Indian maiden, moved to compassion by his condition, severs his bonds and once again Kit is free. 10. THE HOME IN THE WILDERNESS. Here we see Kit's rude log cabin in the clearing. His wife and children are busy with household affairs and eagerly watching for the return of the father. A little girl runs in with the glad news, and soon Kit stalks in and is quickly overwhelmed by the loving embraces of his wife and babies.”
       Per BPL, a portion of this ten-part film was incorporated into The Pioneers (1903).
       The American Mutoscope Company was co-founded in Dec 1895 by former Edison Manufacturing Company inventor William K. L. Dickson (who left Edison in Apr of that year), fellow inventors Herman Casler and Harry Marvin, and businessman Elias Koopman. Their Mutoscope, which originally made flip-card peep show movies, soon rivaled Thomas Edison’s Kinetoscope (see Edison Kinetoscopic Records for 1893). In the summer of 1896, when Edison introduced the Vitascope 35mm projector, American Mutoscope immediately came out with its own 68mm projector that offered a superior image. In 1899, the company changed its name to the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, then shortened it nine years later to the Biograph Company. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
BIOB1
pp. 214-215.
BPL
pp. 4-5, 6-7, 12-13.
EMP
p. 176.
KOCC
5 Nov
p. 217.
LCMP
p. 32, column 1.
LCPP
pp. 197-198.
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PHOTOGRAPHY
DETAILS
Release Date:
October 1903
Copyright Claimants:
American Mutoscope and Biograph Co. American Mutoscope and Biograph Co. American Mutoscope and Biograph Co. American Mutoscope and Biograph Co.
Copyright Dates:
21 September 1903 21 September 1903 21 September 1903 9 October 1903
Copyright Numbers:
H35872-H35873 H35876 H35883-H35888 H36653
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
1184 , 775 , 1233 , 75 , 115 , 195 , 184
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

As dawn breaks in the wilderness, Kit Carson and his fellow trapper awaken in the forest, wash at a brook, start a fire, and prepare a frugal meal. Afterward, the two men remove all trace of the fire. They arrange their packs and start off into the forest. After the trappers have departed, several Indians discover their trail and start out after them. That night, the fatigued pioneers locate their camp by the side of a stream. They cook an evening meal, then lie down to sleep. While Kit Carson and his companion are asleep, the Indians attack. The fight is short and bloody. Three of the Indians are killed, but Kit's companion also dies, and he himself is taken captive and bound. The Indians and their captive thread their way through the dense forest. They come to a stream spanned by a large birch log. The Indians walk in single file on the log, followed by Kit and an Indian buck bringing up the rear. As Kit reaches the center of the log, he topples the Indian behind him into the water, then leaps into the water on the opposite side. The other Indians plunge into the water after him. On a wild river running between immense pine trees, Kit paddles his canoe for dear life, followed by three other canoes filled with Indians. Kit fires his rifle at the foremost canoe and all disappear around another bend of the river. Farther down the river, an Indian scout rapidly approaches in his canoe. He runs his craft ashore and tells his companions that a white man is coming their way. Kit comes along in his canoe, unconscious ... +


As dawn breaks in the wilderness, Kit Carson and his fellow trapper awaken in the forest, wash at a brook, start a fire, and prepare a frugal meal. Afterward, the two men remove all trace of the fire. They arrange their packs and start off into the forest. After the trappers have departed, several Indians discover their trail and start out after them. That night, the fatigued pioneers locate their camp by the side of a stream. They cook an evening meal, then lie down to sleep. While Kit Carson and his companion are asleep, the Indians attack. The fight is short and bloody. Three of the Indians are killed, but Kit's companion also dies, and he himself is taken captive and bound. The Indians and their captive thread their way through the dense forest. They come to a stream spanned by a large birch log. The Indians walk in single file on the log, followed by Kit and an Indian buck bringing up the rear. As Kit reaches the center of the log, he topples the Indian behind him into the water, then leaps into the water on the opposite side. The other Indians plunge into the water after him. On a wild river running between immense pine trees, Kit paddles his canoe for dear life, followed by three other canoes filled with Indians. Kit fires his rifle at the foremost canoe and all disappear around another bend of the river. Farther down the river, an Indian scout rapidly approaches in his canoe. He runs his craft ashore and tells his companions that a white man is coming their way. Kit comes along in his canoe, unconscious of this new danger. The Indians, naked save for their breech-clothes, jump into the water and ambush him by overturning the canoe. They take Kit Carson prisoner. In an Indian village with skin-covered tepees, squaws with papooses, young bucks, and Indian maidens are engaged at their various occupations. Kit creates great excitement as his captors lead him into camp. He is tied to a tree and subjected to various tortures and indignities. Even when tomahawks are hurled at his head, he does not blink or flinch. Night comes, and the village is still. Only one brave, who sleeps on his rifle by the fire, is guarding the prisoner. An Indian maiden, moved to compassion by Kit’s condition, severs his bonds, and once again the pioneer trapper is free. At Kit Carson's log cabin in a clearing, his wife and children are busy with household affairs. A little girl runs in with the news that their father has returned, and when Kit arrives, he is overwhelmed by the embraces of his wife and babies. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.