“Or Perish in the Attempt” Film Documentary

The incredible stories of hardship, disease, and dangerous medicine will be featured in this documentary by 4-time Emmy award winning filmmaker, Mr. Craig Wirth of Park City, Utah. The film documentary is based on the book by Dr. David Peck, “Or Perish in the Attempt: The Hardship and Medicine of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.”

In the early 19th century the concept of germs, contagious disease and parasites was largely unknown. Medical practices such as bloodletting or ingesting mercury were used to treat illness, often aggravating medical conditions rather than helping. The film will explore such topics as Sacagawea’s illness and the curative effects of the Sulphur Springs water, and Sargeant Floyd’s death early in the expedition, among others.

The story will be told from a narrative point of view, with stunning cinematography from the Great Falls area. Several reenactors, and medical experts are featured, including Dr. David Peck (emergency medicine), Dr. Miriam Krause (OB-GYN, infertility Specialist), and Dr. Keith Bortnem (Orthopedics). Historical perspective is provided by the leading Lewis and Clark Historian in the world today, Dr. Gary Moulton, Professor Emeritus of American History at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Dr. Moulton was the editor of the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

The main venue for the film will be the 158-seat theater at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Currently, the Center shows two films at multiple times every day. The “Or Perish” film will add a third film for visitors, covering a subject never before captured on film. The Foundation also plans to pursue airing the film on broadcast television.

Project Status: the filming is complete and was shot in HD video (1080p).

All gifts to the project are tax deductible.