Illuminative Observations on John Muir's Development as an Inventor & Seeker of the Wild
John Muir is the signal figure of environmentalism--arguably more important politically to wilderness protection than anyone, including Teddy Roosevelt. The Sierra Club, which he founded, may also be the most important organization supporting environmentalism, mountaineering, rock & snow climbing, and general outdoor activities in wildlands.
The Boyhood of John Muir examines the incidents and experiences in Muir's early life that led to his evolution as the great extoller and defender of the wild, its pristine landscapes, and the flora and fauna.
The film begins with Muir's immigration from Scotland to upstate Wisconsin with his father and sister. His mother and a younger brother stayed behind for a few years, until the immigrants were well-ensconced in America.
Muir's preacher-father, Daniel, might be characterized as an autocratic slave-driver, forcing his children to work all day, beginning at dawn, allowing them very little time for education, and no time at all for school.
Nevertheless, Muir is brilliant, and fashions many ingenious inventions. He finally manages to escape the clutches of his father to attend the Wisconsin State Fair at Madison, vowing never to return to the farm. There he is discovered by a factory owner, who quickly appoints him foreman because of his labor-saving innovativeness. Unfortunately, Muir is nearly blinded while working on a machine.
Muir regards the injury as a message from God to discontinue industrial pursuits, and embark on a thousand-mile trek to the Gulf of Mexico in order to delight in the bounties of nature. From there he eventually traveled to the Sierra Nevadas, where his career as a naturalist and explorer began.
Superior movie with superb acting. Highly recommended to anyone concerned about our environment.
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