The year is 1774. The place is that wilderness white people call northern Vermont, along the shores Lake Champlain. The turmoil of the impending American Revolution menaces the Elnu Abenaki -- a tribe traditionally allied with the French. As the story begins, one family-sized village are massacred as potential enemies by British scouts. The lone survivor of this attack is a young chief who was away on a trading mission. This man's name is Whlogwilas -- "Night Owl". His wife and small daughter die in his arms. A handmade doll is all he has left of either of them. Elsewhere in the forest, a European orphan named Marta wanders, defenseless, after the sudden death of her brutal stepfather. This man -- whose Puritanical fire-sermon opens the film -- heaps so much venom on all around him, especially young Marta, that it is no surprise when a native tribesman takes revenge by killing him, and makes an expressive display of the dead body. Shortly the white orphan and the Abenaki brave cross ...
F.X. Feeney and Irene Miracle
a tale of Lake Champlain, 1774
Did You Know?
Most of the costumes and props are from the Abenaki Museum curated by scholar Fred Wiseman, and are centuries old. The canoe the hero uses in the film's opening was made in 1865. The bible whose pages figure in certain shots dates from the 1600s, as do the musketry and the silver crucifix the young girl wears. The Hyde Log Cabin which appears is the oldest surviving cabin in North America. See more