April 19th, 2011
John Muir in the New World
Watch the Full Documentary Film

Watch the full program American Masters John Muir in the New World online.

A lover and champion of the American wilderness, Muir believed that it was our responsibility as citizens to protect our natural surroundings. Through his tireless advocacy and his writings, Muir helped preserve the Yosemite Valley, led the fight against the Hetch Hetchy dam – the first nationwide battle of the environmental movement – and was the force behind the creation of the National Park Service. John Muir in the New World explores the influence of his Calvinist father, Daniel; the writings of Alexander von Humboldt and Ralph Waldo Emerson; his friend and mentor Jeanne Carr; marriage to Louie Strentzel; and friendship and work for Robert Underwood Johnson, editor of The Century Magazine; to illustrate how Muir developed his ideas about nature and became a respected scientist, writer and “publicist for nature” during a critical period in U.S. history.

  • DrCatbody

    Quite interesting and I enjoyed it. We need a lot more people in this country who want to appreciate and preserve nature–to worship in John Muir’s church–instead of exploiting it and destroying it.

    But 3 things about this production that bothered me: 1) Was he blinded in one eye or not?? He suffers a terrible eye injury, but it’s never mentioned what the permanent result of that injury is. 2) Was he known to be a redhead? Then why is the actor portraying his youth replaced with an actor with dark brown hair portraying him as a young man?? 3) An egregious error – his eventual Martinez home in the Alhambra Valley is described as just north of San Francisco. What?!?! Who didn’t check a map about this?? Marin County is what’s just north of San Francisco. Martinez is in the East Bay area of the San Francisco Bay Area; as the crow flies it is northeast of San Francisco but in no way can be described as just north of San Francisco!

    An East Bay resident

  • Paul H F

    Wonderful documentary. Always appreciated Jon Muir’s philosophy and had read a lot about him as a young boy.

    I feel the same emotions as John Muir and Tom Murphy every time I take my cameras into the woods and fields. It’s a very spiritual experience… and I agree with both men. Being out in nature is more a church to me than any great cathedral created by man’s hands.

  • Abeer Khan

    thank you so much for putting this doc online. i watched it on tv & now want my husband to watch it. thanks for keeping up with the times & allowing viewers & supporters to watch such docs directly on the site.

  • Thomas Raymond

    I grew up on Henry David Thoreau, and We are part of Nature, how silly is man striving for what is given freely.
    John Muir is my new hero, if we all just recognize the eternity that is the Natural world, and our place, as eternal in it
    there would be only the sounds of the birds.Great Film Thanks So Much!

  • James Hunt

    This is a wonderful way to think anew about our place in the created universe. Muir’s sense of how things are connected, how all is divine harmony and how arrogant we humans are in priviledging our demand for resources is a remarkable and radical antidote to the ways in which the late 19th, 20th and early 21st centuries have despoiled this lovely, blue ball in the cosmos. I take issue only with the fact that Muir walked through a small part of North Carolina–not South Carolina. Muir’s ideas and work is an inspiration for all of us who love this marvelous nature. Let’s remember, we have a long ways to go to prove humans can outlive the dinosaurs on planet earth in terms of our length of time in this place.

  • margie bowman

    i grew up in Martinez as a child in the 60’s n wondered the bk woods of my neighborhood even went to John Muir elementry i didnt know it then how much i was following in his footsteps at that time in my life but i did n watch this reminding me of those great time of discovery which stick with me today i grew to love nature so much it still makes me smile today i see God everywhere n every little thing and it breaks my heart when people dont GET IT,,, thank you for making this film. i drove past his house many time as a child but never got to go it but my father would tell me what a great man he was…..
    thank you afain yall did a wonderful job, that only PBS could show
    with much love and admiration
    Margie Bowman

  • JS Evans

    Overall good documentary and well-timed around Earth Day. Certainly no documentary is perfect. There things done well and areas of improvement. The mention of native peoples was bit bit too brief. I would be careful giving credit to the “discovery” of the spiritual aspects of nature to any one person without fuller inclusion of the thousands of years of evidence of shared credit.

  • Jennifer Schwab

    Through years of being an avid trail runner and explorer of nature, I agree that real pleasure comes from the outdoors. Emerson, Leopold, Thoreau, and Muir had it right from the beginning.

  • denny mayer

    i agree fully with all the others wo have commented on tis great PBS production on John Muir.

  • Suzanne LeRoy

    Good News, Dr. Catbody! in the biographical essay ( see link in top right column – John Muir: Nature’s Witness ) it states Mr. Muir was only temporarily blinded by the accident in the sawmill ! I too wondered what the heck happened to his eye.. And also being a native of the Bay Area, I knew Martinez was not north of San Fran… however, the Muir Woods are. . . in Mill Valley (Muir Woods National Monument named after John Muir in 1908, by the benefactors of the acreage). Maybe they got the two confused. ( 8

  • Andre

    Overall good documentary and well-timed around Earth Day. Certainly no documentary is perfect. There things done well and areas of improvement. The mention of native peoples was bit bit too brief. I would be careful giving credit to the “discovery” of the spiritual aspects of nature to any one person without fuller inclusion of the thousands of years of evidence of shared credit.

  • Rajandra M

    I loved the documentary, whre can I purchase the DVD please?

    Thanks
    RM

  • Andrew A

    I started to watch as one of the assignments from history class.

    But, I do really love how the film portrays the life of John Muir.

    I learned a lot about him. Thank you for the wonderful video!

  • Barry B

    Wonderful documentary, thank you so much for putting it online!

  • Chris

    very inspiring..ashamed to say I hadn’t known of him earlier in life.

Salinger

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