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‘A White Man’
Young Mister Lincoln and Guns Along the Mohawk by John Ford with Henry Fonda


Watching movies set before WWII, the sacred watershed of our national delusion, out of which has grown an ever-expanding web of lies, is very important in terms of tracking the depths of our collective national delusion. Both of the films in question were made in 1939 by the same director, using the same lead actor.

Young Mister Lincoln was predictably jingoistic but retained the Free Soil sentiments of Lincoln and his vice president, Andrew Johnson, one of whom was killed for his belief that America was for the white working man and one who came within one vote of being impeached for his belief in the same thing, that Negro Slavery was an abomination primarily because it drove the free Whiteman from the farm and into the wilderness or the city.

Just before taking a case defending two illiterate sons of a poor white widow against charges of murder, Lincoln tells their mother, who had been widowed by “a drunken Indian” that he knew her pain, that he was not a native of Illinois either and that it had broken his heart to be forced to leave Kentucky, land of his birth due to the grim fact that “a white man could not make a living on account of the slaves being brought in.” The fact that this simple pillar of truth, that the majority of white men would never be able to thrive where the minority of white elites were permitted to breed, own and traffic in black slaves, speaks to us from an era before the Total Lie. To our distant ears come only the elite letters of the anti-slavery Yankee elites who had their own agenda to use African Americans to eradicate the lesser members of their own race.

Guns Along the Mohawk was less racially based but more entertaining, with the show being stolen by an old widow whose “hired man” had “run off.” Now, how could a hired man run off one might wonder? You might first ask, in a slave economy, who has money to pay wages and if some landowner did have money to pay for work, who would be fool enough to flee from the goose that laid his golden egg? Indeed, the protagonist, played by Henry Fonda, was thrilled to be hired for the job after the Indians burnt his cabin. The fact was, hired men were usually rented slaves—that is why they ran away.

The realism of English officered Indians was present as well as the very accurate depiction of the wealthy elite owning numerous black slaves and the old widow with her frontier plantation owning only her personal maid servant.

So, as late as 1939, Hollywood was not yet entirely beholding to The Lie.

Interestingly, Guns along the Mohawk was filmed around Mirror Lake, in the Uinta Mountains, on ground I have actually walked within site of.

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Add Comment
MannyNovember 27, 2018 4:37 AM UTC

I like your term the “Total Lie” as it has a familiar historical ring. Whether the tellers and receivers were of “their own race” is open to debate. We are not yet 80 years removed from the making of these films.