The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend

KabeSetsu 037by Mark Perry

An enthralling true tale of the abduction of nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker by Comanches in Texas in 1836, the story takes us along on the continuing search for her by her uncle. When she is eventually found and brought back she has become the wife of a brave and has three children. Read on to see how she adjusts to life among a people she no longer understands.

Cynthia Ann with her daughter, Prairie Flower, 1861 Fort Worth

Cynthia Ann with her daughter, Prairie Flower, 1861 Fort Worth

The second half of the book is the story of the making of the classic Western starring John Wayne. Many consider this film to be director John Ford’s best ever. He sets the story after the Civil War and John Wayne plays the role of the vengeful uncle who never gives up looking for his niece but also intends to shoot her because she has been defiled by savages.

After the plains’ tribes surrendered to  U.S. troops, Cynthia’s eldest son, Quanah Parker, set about to become a bridge between white society and the native Americans in Texas, finally installing himself as chief of the Comanche people. Quanah visited Washington and later entertained President Roosevelt in his sprawling home built on the reservation. He lived there with his seven wives and many children until his death in 1911.

Quanah Parker

Quanah Parker

The whole story is so fascinating and hard to believe it’s true. Many white settlers were abducted by Indians, mostly women and children, as the men were usually dispatched summarily. Some of those who were recovered later wrote about their experiences living with the Indians.

John Wayne in The Searchers

John Wayne in The Searchers

Apparently, the film was shot in Monument Valley in Arizona with many Navajos as extras.In one scene if  you watch carefully. you’ll see a station wagon drive across the edge of your screen!

Cynthia Ann Parker's grave

Cynthia Ann Parker’s grave

Now that I know the true story, I plan to rent the DVD and watch it. John Wayne at his best!


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