John Wayne’s son Patrick Wayne starred in the 1960s classic The Bears and I set in the Chilcotin.

John Wayne’s son Patrick Wayne starred in the 1960s classic The Bears and I set in the Chilcotin.

Film club wraps up season with The Bears and I

A friend told me about the film The Bears and I and I had to admit I had never heard of it.

A friend told me about the film The Bears and I and I had to admit I had never heard of it.

I am happy she did. After some research I found the film and the story behind it. It is filmed in our neighbourhood, on Chilco Lake and in the Nemiah Valley. And I have been told that local people were involved as actors as well.

So we simply added another date to our Williams Lake Film Club schedule to bring you this special treat before Christmas.

The Bears and I and another part of the CBC series Cariboo Country, written by Paul St. Pierre and filmed around Anahim Lake in the 1960s, will be screened next Tuesday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. at the Gibraltar Room.

Back doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The Cariboo Country segment is named Under the Blanket, starring Chief Dan George in his earliest days, and others.

These rustic films about people of the Cariboo-Chilcotin are a wonder to watch, especially as they are so politically not correct.

This short film deals with the fact that a Lahal game is more important than politics.

The Bears and I shows the people of the Chilcotin as well, but seen through the eyes of Hollywood. The story line is simple. When war veteran Bob Leslie (played by Patrick Wayne, son of John Wayne) ventures into the White Bird Wilderness (known to us as Chilco Lake and Nemiah Valley) to locate the father of a deceased Army buddy, he is overwhelmed by the beauty of the untouched forest and crystal clear lakes. He decides to camp near a native settlement where he becomes drawn to the local wildlife, especially three lovable bears.

After a tragedy strikes and the mother bear is killed, he decides to adopt the cubs and take care of them. And that is where Hollywood comes in full force — the bears accompany him in his canoe, go for a slay ride, walk on a leash, and frolic about. And I have to admit, it is pure fun to watch.

However, the film also has some deeper undertones.

While raising the three cubs, Bob realizes that the natives have a serious problem.

The government wants to take their land. Bob decides to support them in their battle to keep their land.

This film was released in 1974 and it also stars Chief Dan George.

Let’s make this a truly Cariboo-Chilcotin evening.

I would like to ask you to bring some of your Christmas baking to share after the screening during our last “social” of  the year 2011.

Also, the Food Bank needs your support.  Bring some non-perishable items — and some Christmassy stuff as well.

That would be really nice.

I would like to thank all of you for your wonderful support of the film club. With your help we were able to donate $2,000 to the LDA this season.

Ann Pilszek will tell you about this and the LDA, Williams Lake Chapter of the Association for Students with Learning Disabilities, before our film.


And remember, everyone is welcome to our screenings!



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