Another to Conquer (1941)

Summary: 
Story about a Navajo family and their battle with tuberculosis as two members must heal in a sanatorium. Storyline includes generational differences regarding Western medicine, and a young Navajo man's decision to attend an Indian boarding school.
Cultural Narrative: 

Narrated by Cindy and Perry Slivers. Facilitated by Rhiannon Sorrell, Instructor and librarian at Diné College.

Language of narration primarily Diné Bizaad.

Description: 

Opening credits: The logo of the American Lunch Association (a white Cross of Saint Lorraine which has a vertical bar with two shorter bars crossing it, one uppermost smaller than the other) superimposed over a one-dollar 1935 coin, then turning black on a white background in the shape of a postage stamp with black trim, and then the words “Christmas Seals fight Tuberculosis” superimposed over that, then rays of light shoot out from behind the stamp; the words “The National Tuberculosis Association in cooperation with the United States Office of Indian Affairs Presents” superimposed over an image of cliffs; the words “Another To Conquer, Copyright 1941, National Tuberculosis Association” then “The Cast: Slow-Talker…Howard Gorman, Don, his grandson…Sammy Day, Nema, his granddaughter…Geraldine H. Birdsbill, Robert, a friend…Richard Hogner, Doctor…W.W. Peter, M.D.” over an image of a tall adobe wall; the words “Director: Edgar G. Ulmer, Camera: Robert Cline, Sound: Clarence Townsend, Consultant, Ruth Underhill, Ph.D., Editor H.E. Mandl, Springer Pictures, Inc.” and the RCA logo over an image of cliffs, clouds, and desert floor; the words “The generous assistance of the Navajo Service is gratefully acknowledged.” over image of desert, dirt road, and cliff; nighttime, men in loincloths and white headscarfs dancing around a bonfire, closer view of the men, carrying lighted torches; closer view of the bonfire; daylight, these men, now clearly American Indian, on horseback, one takes up most of the image; close-ups of a two different men’s faces in profile; series of shots of these men on horseback herding horses through various desert landscapes over brush and between tall cliffs; closer view of one man with chin-length hair and white head scarf and loincloth posing on horseback, looking at the landscape, cliffside behind him, then his outfit changes to more western ware with leather vest, chaps and long-sleeved velvet shirt, concho belt, and he rides off; he and another man on horseback herding a flock of sheep (dibé) through between rock formations; a woman, man, and little girl walking towards an hogan, and two other woman weave at a loom (dah iistłʼǫ́) nearby; a horse and wagon with a man, woman, boy and girl drive towards camera and park outside of a building; various shots of an indoor audience of Navajo men seated in rows, hats on laps, some close-ups of faces, younger and older; various shots of a horse and wagon with an older man, boy, woman and girl driving through the desert landscape, the man, Slow-Talker (played by Howard Gorman, unclear if he is acheii or análí hastiin) speaks to the camera and his grandson; shot of a the remains of a structure on fire; back to Slow-Talker addressing and hugging Don; close-up of the woman (the children’s mother Zonchee) and little girl and then them hugging; the words “A dozen years swept on. Zonchee, the mother, died too. But grandfather Slow-Talker held the little family together: the lovely Nema and Don, his ardent admirer. Robert, their neighbor, was a frequent visitor. Together they worked and played and took part in the folk ways.” over an image of the landscape; bonfire burning in an open landscape and people walk towards it; a large group of people sitting and standing or on horseback looking the same direction; closer view of men and women dancing and chanting in a circle; more views alternating between the various onlookers and dancers/chanters; Slow-Talker, sitting with two other men and a little girl, speaks Diné Bizaad/Navajo; closer views of the two men’s head shaking in agreement, then speaking in English to each other and with Slow-Talker’s now older granddaughter Nema (played by Geraldine H. Birdsbill) sitting between, one man gets up and leaves; back to the image of the bonfire and closer view of dancers; Nema and a young man Robert sit down to talk, apart from others; back to views of the audiences and bonfire and dancers; Slow-Talker’s now grow grandson Don (played by Sammy Day) saddling up a horse next to a long wooden fence; wide view of a homestead with a man chopping wood with an ax, farmstead structures; a Nema standing next to a loom propped up against the opening of a hogan, Don riding on horseback and leading another horse alongside, and Robert carrying a small bag with a handle and bed roll under his arm, and walking towards the hogan; closer view of Robert standing next to a horse, shaking hands with Nema; he walks over and shakes hands with Slow-Talker standing by the wagon and then climbs up on to the free horse; close-up of Nema’s face looking a bit worried; back to Robert mounting the horse and then riding off with Don; closer view of Nema and Slow-Talker looking off camera in the same direction, hogan entrance behind; back to Robert and Don riding away into the desert landscape; back to Slow-Talker speaking in English; back to the two horsemen riding down a rocky hillside and past the camera; fade to the Robert and Don walking towards the entrance to a multi-story building, Don shakes Robert’s hand and stops short of the stairs as Robert enters;  close-up of Robert studying at a desk in a classroom; then pulling hot metal out of a fire to an anvil in a metalworking studio; then washing his hands in a sink; exterior of young men playing volleyball on a court; young men playing baseball on a field and then two men enter and one man blows a whistle and calls the boys over to introduce them to the other, who is identified as a doctor (W.W. Peter), Dr. Peter places his hand on Robert’s shoulder as he address the group and then leads him off-screen; Dr. Peter and Robert in the doctor’s office, the latter bare chested with his left hand rested on his head and arm raised as the other hand covers his mouth with a hanky, while Dr. Peter taps Robert’s ribcage beneath his armpit and his chest; Dr. Peter listens to Robert’s back with his stethoscope while Robert coughs into his hanky and they chat; in a lab setting, Dr. Peter stands Robert in front of an X-Ray machine, his hands on his hips, the doctor adjusts the camera and takes an X-Ray (without protective gear or wall), then retrieves the large-format undeveloped negative from the platform against which Robert was standing and holds it up as he talks; closer view of Robert and the doctor looking at the X-Ray image of Robert’s chest as he points to the collar bones on the image and on Robert, and then the ribs and lungs on the image, stopping at spot on the image of his lung; interior of sanatorium room where Robert is in bed and a nurse brings him a tray of food; Don on horseback riding very fast through rock formations and trees to Slow-Talker’s farmstead, where he dismounts and talks to Nema at her loom, who grabs his hand as walks past; he kneels (sometimes coughing) to talk to Slow-Talker seated nearby, sheep herded in background by two younger girls; closer view of the two talking, then the older turns to address Nema off-screen; closer view of Nema looking back at her loom; wider view of Nema getting up walking over to address her grandfather as Don stands; closer view of Slow-Talker listening; back to the three and Don bending over coughing and Nema comforts him and talks to him; back to sanatorium where Dr. Peter sits down next to Robert in his robe reading, they talk and the doctor sketches on a drawing pad; close up of the doctor’s hands pointing with a pencil to the lungs and windpipe he’s drawn; back to the two talking and Dr. Peter mimicking how lungs work with his hands, and back to him drawing a dark spot (Tuberculosis) on the lungs; back to the two, and back to him drawing how it spreads and takes over a lung; back to the two seated and chatting, including a close-up of Robert speaking; close-up of Dr. Peter’s hands pointing with his pencil to illustrations in a pamphlet showing figures with lungs exposed; back to the two talking as the doctor continues to demonstrate with his hands; close-ups of Robert talking, and then the doctor; they get up from their deck chairs and walk off; Robert, still in his robe, and Dr. Peter in the lab, where the latter pulls two test tubes out of a cabinet and shows them to Robert as they talk; close-up of one tube with germs in it; back to the two and then closer view of the doctor talking; back to the two as the doctor gestures; close-up of Robert laying in bed, hands folded on the back of his head as he looks at the ceiling; wide view of many people gathered around a very large circular fenced area corral where a parameter full of sheep make their way down a chute for sheep dipping as people prod them through with long sticks into a smaller holding corral, cars in the background; closer view of the interior of the bigger corral as several young men, including Don, wrangle sheep; closer view of a woman and men prodding the sheep through the liquid solution in the chute; back to the Don and others wrangling sheep into the chute, alternating with images of the prodding through; back to Don hunched over, holding his mouth, and looking unwell and Slow-Talker moves over to help him; back to prodding the sheep through the solution; closer view of Don seated next to the corral fence spitting up blood and Slow-Talker comforts him; back to chute; two men holding up Don and walking him to an open car door, placing him inside as someone starts the engine, the car pulls away, followed by Slow-Talker and Nema on horseback; the two standing on the doctor’s porch as he walks through a screen door to shake hands and talk with them; close-up of Slow-Talker looking sad; outside the hogan Robert stands speaking to Nema sitting on the ground near the entrance, Slow-Talker sits nearby; different view of the two talking; closer view of Slow-Talker listening, shaking his head, responding, and standing up; Slow-Talker and Dr. Peter in the X-Ray lab viewing Nema’s lungs on the X-Ray machine, the latter pointing to a healthy chest and then replacing it with an X-Ray of Slow-Talker’s where he points out the unhealthy lung with Tuberculosis; close up of Slow-Talker’s face responding, then the doctor’s, and back to Slow-Talker’s as an image of his now deceased daughter’s face, Don spitting up blood, and he and the doctor shaking hands on the porch are superimposed over his face; Nema and Don waiting on the porch from before as Slow-Talker and Dr. Peter exit through the screen door, he addresses the them and shakes their hands before they turn to leave; back to hogan with rock formations behind on Slow-Talker’s homestead, a nurse in a black skirt and sweater walks carrying her medical back towards the hogan and she walks in as Robert holds the door for her; close-up of Nema smiling, showing a baby on a cradleboard; the nurse hunched, leaning into the hogan addressing Nema and the baby, Robert standing behind the nurse, then back to Nema and child; closer view of Nema outside at the sanatorium holding the cradleboard, then wider shot of Robert and Nema as she hoists it up onto a short wall behind which Show-Talker sits in a wheelchair, he leans and wiggles his fingers for the baby; smiling she takes the baby off the wall as he sits back in his chair; closer view of him thinking and placing his hand over his eyes, then looking at the sky; Nema, carrying the baby, and Robert walking outdoors, and they stop and look up, then closer view of them as they stand and smile at each other; the words “The End” and soon the logo for Springer Pictures over this image which fades to a cliffside landscape.   

Navajo Nation