Director: Tom Radford
About the Film
Richard Barrington Nevitt escaped the brutality of the American Civil War, yet the horror of violent conflict was to pursue him all his life. Studying medicine in Toronto, Nevitt signed up as an assistant surgeon with the North West Mounted Police in 1847 on their great march to bring law to the western frontier. In the years that followed, he became one of the earliest and most prolific artists of the Canadian West and a keen documantarian of Native life.
Decent and caring, Nevitt gained
the trust of the Blackfoot Indians who turned to the Mounties for help
when the buffalo started disappearing. He became their doctor. His paintings
and letters home to his sweetheart, Elizabeth Beaty, constitute a unique
record of the struggle to bring justice to a lawless land and medicine
to a destitute people. When he returned to marry and raise a family of
his own, Nevitt helped founded the Toronto Women's Hospital and became
a leading proponent of women's medicine in Canada. He delivered thousands
of babies in the years that followed, yet had the tragedy of seeing many
of them killed in the First World War, including his own son. The often
pointless tragedy of war and his haunting memories of The Great Lone Land
stayed with him all his life.