In The Shadow of Paul Bunyan
16mm on HD Video
A personal history of the famous lumberjack and his big blue ox, traced alongside the geography of the US-Dakota War of 1862. While he's usually thought of as the hero in Minnesota's creation story, there are also the unresolved histories of conquest and conflict that exist in Paul Bunyan's shadow. This is the hidden part of Paul Bunyan – the unresolved legacy of Minnesota's founding violence, concealed by the reassuring myth of the jolly logger. Filmmaker Nik Nerburn criss-crosses both the real and imagined vistas of these competing folklores, from Paul's humble origins as a joke bandied around lumbercamps, as well as his life as an enduring advertising icon, to the frozen landscapes of the largest mass execution in US history. In the Shadow of Paul Bunyan is a deeply personal expedition into the hidden corners of the landscapes we call Minnesota.