VAGABOND -- "Monument Valley" (1957)

Episode of the TV show VAGABOND about Monument Valley and the Navajo people. Navajo-related activities include a cross-cultural exchange with YMCA/YWCA, selling rugs, weaving, sheepherding, cooking, doctor visit.
Cultural Narrative: 

Narrated by Michael Parrish from the Diné Policy Institute, Diné College in 2019. Facilitated by Rhiannon Sorrell, Instructor and librarian at Diné College.

Language of narration is primarily English. This program originally aired on KCOP (Los Angeles, CA) in November 1957.


Opening shot of seagulls soaring through the sky, clouds behind; crashing waves on shoreline; footsteps on a wet sandy beach, then back to crashing waves; title “Vagabond” over footprint in wet sand, wave washes over and deposits seaweed; car driving down a desert road past camera; a Navajo woman working at a loom (dah iistłʼǫ́), toddler boy beside her, possibly hogan wall behind; same woman seated by open fire hit, patting fry bread dough into shape, while another fries in a cast-iron skillet, toddler and another child sitting beside; next to canyon wall, a photographer before his large-format camera on a tripod and a (native?) man on horseback; Monument Valley in the distance and a blonde white woman in white pants and cardigan over her shoulders, and man with short black hair in a short-sleeved shirt and pants in foreground, they turn and walk off-screen; Mitchell Butte with a small group people in foreground by a juniper tree; the valley with a person on horseback; narrator/host Bill Burrud flipping through the magazine Arizona Highway in an office or den with a bookshelf and painting of a ship on a wood-paneled wall behind; as he’s talking he then turns and addresses the camera and then walks over a map of Four Corners states and points to Flagstaff, AZ, and the Navajo Nation; camera zooms into map; from point of view of a moving car driving down a highway; a white highway sign that reads “Colton 21, Redlands 30, Indio 99”, landscape beyond; highway with cars passing the camera, California U.S. 70 and California U.S. 99 highway signs in foreground; Fremont Street in Las Vegas, the Boulder Club in the foreground; couple from previous shot standing alongside two camel statues and a robed figure, then the parking lot to the Sahara hotel sign “Edgar Bergen, Teresa Brewer and others on the marquee; car drives past into the parking lot; swimming pool, tall Sahara sign in the background, person jumps from the diving board in the foreground; a dealer’s hands shuffling cards on a blackjack table with “Sahara” on it, a roulette wheel spinning, the tiny windows of a slot machine showing three bars; (mainly) white men and women milling about in a crowded parking lot outside a hotel; celebrities/actors Robert Young, Ann Miller, Sonja Henie, Ginny Sims, and Joyce Johnson holding and then cutting a ribbon and smiling for the cameras at an opening; the group waving and turning to walk away; highway, through desert landscape towards Lake Meade, then the lake in the distance; Hoover Dam from above; a car pulling off highway into road past Painted Desert Inn sign, to the rim of the desert itself and parks, three people get out; two women, cardigans over the shoulders, one pointing out to the landscape, the man stands nearby; the Painted Desert; white highway sign with “Ganado Mission 40, Canyon de Chelly National Monument 90”, then same with the car driving past and into a gas station; a sign “Chambers” (AZ) on a wood-planked wall; dust cloud from a moving car moving down dirt road; landscape and sky from moving car; wooden sign “Canyon de Chelly National Monument 1 mile”; from above of the car driving past buildings in Chinle, AZ, and parks next to a building alongside which stands park superintendent John Aubuchon, the walk over and shake hands; the group talking, Aubuchon pointing; canyon and wooden sign that reads “White House Overlook 200 feet”; the three people walking along cliff; down from the canyon cliffs to another larger group walking on a trail below; cliff dwelling caves; rock formations and White House Ruin; various rock formations showing stratifications; head/shoulders shot to the two women looking out at the Canyon del Muerto in the distance; the women walking through Beautiful Valley, one pointing, then head/shoulders shot of her in profile talking; the two women looking out at the landscape; young people running (identified as children from YMCA and YWCA in Whittier, CA and Navajo) from behind, up and over a large hill towards them; a circle of their hands removing canteens and metal camping plates from pillow cases onto a tarp; an adult scooping food on the plates of the seated boys then of boys eating; hands pulling a basket of metal plates and cups from a pot of boiling water; a large ring of the children and adults holding hands, surrounding a smaller group running around/dancing in the middle, landscape and busses in the background; the dance over the top of two people holding hands in foreground; of the dancers; smiling Navajo girls looking off camera, then a blonde white girl (identified as “Michelle” from Whittier) doing same; back to dancers; a Navajo boy in a color-blocked hat smiling, then a white boy; Michelle, the two boys and holding hands and then clapping and braking into pairs, the Navajo and white boy playing a hand slap game; the Whittier YMCA bus pulling out onto a dirt road; a Greyhound bus driving down dirt driveway and stopping an an A-frame wooden building (a church), where a few people away; a man disembarking the bus to shake hands with an awaiting man (identified as Dr. Gray — possibly Reverend Joseph W. Gray? — of the Trinity Presbyterian Church Mission at Chinle, with his mostly off-camera wife and Mrs. Gray), a group of youth (identified as being from a church group from San Marino Community Church, CA) follow and do same; Dr. Gray smiling and talking; a young man chopping wood, and a group of youth raking the sand in a courtyard, a young man pulling a large piece of wood on a rope across the dirt; two men digging a whole, surrounded by logs on the ground and standing as fence posts; a man showing a young woman how to rake the dirt; three women sifting dirt through their hands (or throwing seeds?); others standing nearby with rakes and a wheelbarrow; top church pediment and cross; boy holding a Kachina doll; wood sign “Garcia’s Canyon de Chelly Trading Post, Navajo Rugs, Gas & Oil, Cold Pop, Ice Cream, Meats” then the three travelers from before admiring and helping to hold up a Navajo rug being help up by a Navajo woman and a man; the rug; the man holding up one corner talking to the young traveling white man; the Navajo woman; an open field with a small building and farm windmill; aerial shot of the travellers’ car driving down a dirt road;  small single-engine plane taking off on dirt runway; aerial shots from moving plane over Canyon de Chelly/Tséyiʼ (Spider Rock, Canyon del Muerto are pointed out), including a slight glimpse of pilot’s face (identified as Pete Belkin); aerial shots switch to Monument Valley (El Capitan/Agathia Peak/Aghaałą́), No Mans Mesa, and Navajo Mountain/Naatsisʼáán, Colorado and San Juan Rivers, are pointed out), other formations like natural arch and buttes singled out; canyon walls, two of the travelers and the pilot walk by the plane and away, then to a jeep arriving; Bill Burrud back in the office speaking in front of the map; travelers’ car in foreground driving into Monument Valley, buttes in background; a hogan and sun shelter, a woman standing nearby, buttes and big sky in background; two mules or horses pulling a man on a standing plow and a woman following behind;  a Navajo man driving a tractor plow across a dry field; from the car of El Capitan; the car pulling into driveway of Goulding Ranch rustic lodge and buildings where Mr. Harry Goulding waves to them, they park and get out to greet him; the man (older, white, wearing a cowboy hat) shaking their hands; a man (identified as photographer Josef Muench) standing atop a jeep adjusting a camera on a tripod, and placing film in to photograph the butte behind the lodge; him from below; rock face then to the group and other walking the ground of the Monument Valley Seventh-day Adventist Mission School; a white boy walking down a dirt path and Navajo children walking down another in the same direction alternating with a a woman smiling and greeting the children as they pass; the teacher and children hoisting an American flag up a pole, rock face and building behind; the group of students shading their eyes and looking up, and back to flag at top of pole; wood-paneled jeep and then a white woman (identified as Mrs. Gwen Walter, a nurse) seated with a Navajo woman, a standing by, a toddler girl and a baby whom she picks up, outside a hogan; Mrs. Walter cooing the baby and hands it to the smiling mother; Mrs. Walter walking to the jeep and talking into the CB radio; interior shot of a shortwave radio, then a man (identified as Mr. Marvin Walter) picking up the handset speak into it, then back to Mrs. Walter at the jeep; the Navajo woman seated on a rock/clay bench rocking her baby swaddled in its cradleboard; pulling back the blanket to expos the baby’s face; (mission doctor’s office) an older Navajo man’s face (identified as a medicine man), in plaid shirt and headband, then a doctor (probably Dr. Vincent Gardner) places a stethoscope inside the man’s t-shirt collar, Gardner listening; the his hands tying a rubber around the patient’s upper arm and brings a needle; the Gardner’s face in profile, concentrating and smiling; the Navajo woman patient’s face smiling; a nurse bandaging the medicine man’s left hand as he smiles and watches; the dentist placing a dental drill in the same man’s mouth and talking as he works; jeeps driving down a dirt road past a ranch-style sign that reads “Goulding’s Monument Valley Trading Post - Lodge - Tours”, buttes in background; Mitchell Butte with a small group people in foreground by a juniper tree; jeeps driving down a curvy dirt road, Mitten Butte in the background; another view of the Mitten in foreground, the Valley behind; the travelers in foreground looking at the East and West Mittens, then a similar shot with two people in foreground pointing and looking at Castle Butte; profile view of a man (identified as Jack Sleight?) driving the jeep, Valley landscape whizzing by through the driver’s side window; a Navajo woman and three Navajo children sitting around an open fire pit at the bottom of a small hill, the woman working some dough with her hands, then a hogan in front of which is photographer Josef Muench behind his camera and tripod; the group by the fire, the woman mixes ground cornmeal in a white bowl; the Muench behind his camera, then takes a photo; the woman patting dough into a flat disk; one of the boy’s faces; back to the woman placing the dough into the cast iron skillet of oil on the open fire over a grill; woman pulling the fried bread out of the pan as a toddler boy looks on beside her and then behind her as she begins to shape another piece of dough; two boys eating the bread; the same woman working at a loom; the yarn on the ground beside her; woman working as the toddler moves about next to her; her working; Three Sisters rock formation and Mitchell Butte; a sheep (dibé) and goat herd walking, and shepherd nearby, cliffs in background; sheep walking; a young Navajo man pretending to ride a goat; a shot from below of a sheep eating from a stack of bailed hay atop some rocks; the blonde woman traveler and the man holding and playing with two baby goats; a young Navajo woman (identified as the daughter of a chief) riding a horse and glancing at the camera, cliffs in background; she then rides past a natural rock arch that is identified as the Ernie Pyle Memorial Natural Bridge; shot through the arch of a man in the far distance;  back to the young woman riding; the three travelers walking toward The Totem Pole rock formation, then fade to the Navajo woman on horseback riding towards the same; photographer Josef Muench looking through his camera on a tripod, great expanse of landscape behind, and possibly two Navajo men alongside him in black hats and clothes; shot from their point of view from behind the camera of the young woman on horseback posing before the Totem Pole and surrounding rock formations; riding through the valley, buttes in the background; her from below on the horse, looking off in the distance; back to on the horse, valley buttes in the background; back to interior shot of  Bill Burrud talking in front of the map and bookshelves; end credits over various beach scenes: Vagabond with Bill Burrud — written by Ted Hilgenstuhler — production manager Leland W. Hansen — production coordinator Charles Martin — filmed on location by Milas Hinshaw, Leland W. Hansen, Buddy Noonan, Guy Adenis, Dick Swenson, Gene McCabe, Ronald Munns — studio sequences Ken Carlson, Jim Crabe — associate producers Reed Bingham, Milas Hinshaw — film editors Marvin Walowitz, Mindy Bagdon — music and effects Audio Effects — produced in Hollywood by Bill Burrud productions — and Official Films Inc. presentation.

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