The Film & More|
Hello, I'm David McCullough. Welcome to The American Experience.
The generation of Americans who fought in the Civil War went on to do a great
variety of extraordinary things. They built railroads and cities and in some
cases, immense personal fortunes. Several became president of the United
States. Washington Roebling built the Brooklyn Bridge. Dr. Samuel David Gross
of Philadelphia helped transform the practice of surgery. Winslow Homer, an
artist-correspondent in the war, went on to paint the American scene as no one
Our story is about one of the most remarkable men of all that generation and
one of the great adventure stories of the American West: John Wesley Powell and
the exploration of Colorado River... John Wesley Powell, who had lost an arm in
the battle of Shiloh, but who never let that, or much of anything, deter him on
his path through life.
A classic American biography is Walace Stegner's book about Powell, "Beyond the
Hundredth Meridian," in which he writes of Powell..."Losing one's right arm is
a misfortune; to some it would be a disaster, to others and excuse. It
affected Wes Powell's life about as much as a stone fallen into a swift stream
affects the course of a river. With a velocity like his, he simple foamed over
If you've ever been down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, you know
what an overwhelming experience it is. It's not just a journey into a totally
different place, but into an immensity of time no easier to fathom than the
sheer walls of rock rising overhead. But imagine what it was like in the year
1869 when Powell and his party pushed off down river into the Canyon, when it
was all unknown.
Lost in the Grand Canyon, by producer Mark Davis.