Writer and filmmaker Sándor Lau walks in the footsteps of the pioneers and native people on the perilous final stretch of the Oregon Trail: The Barlow Road. Without dying of dysentery.
By the time they reached The Dalles on the Columbia River, emigrants had already survived 1,900 miles of rattlesnakes, river crossings, and high-velocity lead poisoning. Now, they had to decide whether to brave the treacherous rapids of the undammed Columbia River in handmade log rafts or pay the toll of a week’s wages for the privilege of risking death on the worst road they’d ever seen.
Native people have belonged to these lands, fished these waters, and danced in celebration here for as long as the wind remembers. And they are still here.
On his journey home across the new old West, Sándor meets modern-day buck skinners and blacksmiths, fishers and foragers. Historic reenactors show how the West was fun and Native people share traditions passed down by their ancestors since time immemorial. Sándor learns how Coyote created the Columbia, why to strike while the iron is hot, and discovers the center of the universe in the middle of nowhere.
With your help the film is coming to public television (PBS) and private events in 2024. Subscribe by email and get in touch for updates. New subscribers get free access to Sándor’s previous film: Sándor’s New Zealand Trail.