Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery (1997)


“It’s a great story. it’s a human story. It’s the story of those who went first. They were first. They led the way. They opened the trail.” – Stephen Ambrose

Number of Times Seen – 1 (18 Sep 2019)

Brief Synopsis – Documentary that chronicles the expedition led by Lewis and Clark across the new land acquired by Thomas Jefferson in the Louisiana Purchase that spread from the Mississippi all of the way to the Pacific.

My Take on it – This is a documentary that I’ve been interesting in seeing for quite a while especially since I recall being fascinated as a kid with the journey of this group of men led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

This film does a wonderful job allowing us to feel as we are part of this company of men as they make the trek across the country over two hundred years ago.

Ken Burns is an amazing documentarian who once again proves how great a story teller and film maker he can be with this story since it flows so well and goes into enough detail to get the viewer to have a much deeper understanding of the quest along with the men who were on this journey.

The voice cast of this film is superb and we get to hear lots of familiar voices playing certain parts.

Hal Holbrook is amazing as the narrator and his soft and soothing voice helps keep the narration from being a distractions as we learn about this journey.

They utilize memoirs and other historical accounts in order to give us a very comprehensive look at this journey and it pays off since we are able to get a deep understanding of everything hat transpired on their adventure.

WE are given great descriptions of the various characters that accompany the duo on their expedition and I really liked the way that they dwell a bit on the stories of a few minorities that accompanied them on the journey; including an Indian woman and a Negro Slave.

They also allow us to learn all about the various Indian tribes that they meet with along the way, some hostile and some very friendly.

Bottom Line – Really fascinating movie that allows us to feel as if we are on the journey with this group of explorers on their quest across the country over two centuries ago. Burns once again proves how great a storyteller and filmmaker he can be with the way that he tells this story. The voice cast is superb and having Holbrook as the narrator really works because his calm and soothing voice allows for us to not be distracted by the narration along the way. The film gives some amazing insight into the journey via various memoirs and other historical texts that lead us along the way of this journey.  Love the way that this story deals with some of the minorities of the tale including the Indians met along the way and a Negro slave who accompanied them. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Due to numerous inconsistencies, oddities and lack of hard facts and evidence, the death of Meriwether Lewis became, in time, a topic of great discussion, wild speculation and genuine controversy as more and more people including some historians began to favor the idea that he was in fact murdered. Examples of this discussion can be found in pop culture as well. For instance, in one of the first chapters of The Secret History of Twin Peaks, a companion book to the television series Twin Peaks, it’s theorized in great semi-fictional detail, some of it based on actual historical facts, that the man behind the conspiracy to murder Meriwether Lewis was none other than General James Wilkinson, commander of the U.S. army during the first three American Presidents who was discovered after his death to have been a spy for the Spanish Crown. He was also the first Governor of Louisiana Territory until Lewis took over this duty. The book suggests that Lewis had evidence against Wilkinson and that this was the real reason why he had decided to personally travel to Washington by horse in 1809. After Lewis’ tragic demise, Wilkinson’s men including Major James Neely, Lewis’ shady companion during the final leg of his journey, covered up all evidence of murder, took most of Lewis’ valuable belongings and incriminating evidence and paid off the owners of the cabin where Lewis had died to keep quiet and repeat the agreed cover story of suicide if anyone ever asks them about it. (From IMDB)

Rating – ??? Worthy (?/10)

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2 thoughts on “Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery (1997)

  1. Pingback: MovieRob Monthly Roundup – September 2019 | MovieRob

  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1997 | MovieRob

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