Grass: A Nation's Battle for Life

1
 The way of the world is 
  west.

 Long the sages have told us
  how our forefathers, the
  Aryans of old, rose remote
  in Asia and began conquest 
  of earth, moving ever in
  the path of the sun. 

2
 We are part of that great
  migration.

 We are the travelers who
  still face to the westward.

3
 Back in the East behind us
  are the secrets of our own
  past, and a tradition of our
  brothers still living in the
  cradle of the race - - a long
  since Forgotten People.

4
    Two men and a woman 
    sought and found the
    Forgotten People - -

(You will only see the men on the 
 screen now, for during the migration
 they were behind the camera.)

5
MERIAN C. COOPER

	the explorer who
	conceived the idea of
	recording this migration.

6
ERNEST SCHOEDSACK

	whose camera recorded 
	this epic experience.

7
MARGUERITE HARRISON

	author and traveler whose
	part in the search appears
	here.

8
Eastward through the hills
of Asia Minor our journey
begins....

9
The caravan route out of 
Angora, worn by the 
passing feet of centuries,
leads us on to mystery.

10
Thirty days on end - -
over bleak plains, from
village to village.

11
"Hey, kids! Lookee!"

12
Another month passes out
 on the Salt Desert of
Anatolia.

13
And often we would run 
into - -

14
- - blinding desert sand-
         storms.

15
On one such night, as the 
storm increased -- out of 
the darkness loomed a
welcome Caravanserai, the
desert traveller's refuge.

16
Safe within the walls 
 of an old courtyard.

17
At ease by their fire, the 
camel drivers tell tales of 
the desert - - and stories 
of the Forgotten People,
whom none has seen.

18
As the embers die.

19
Dawn reveals our refuge --

20
"Gosh - - it's another day!"

21
"Morning, pup."

22
Breakfast offers ekmek,
unleavened bread that
was old when Scripture
was writ.

23
"A little feller has to look 
    out for himself - -"

24
"Thanks!"

25
SUNUP.

26
"It's tough for a feller
 to be a magician's pup!"

27
"But a feller can show up
    a trick, anyway."

28
Weeks later - - leaving
  wagons and roads
behind us, we head off
into the Taurus Mountains.

29
A sentinel fortress, grim
ruin of a thousand years,
now the abode of wild
hunters.

30
Where men rely upon their
 hunting skill for food!

31
Tracks!

32
Camouflage!

33
He does not hunt for sport
- - he kills for food.

34
Just a speck against the 
sky on the brow of the 
cliff - -

35
A hundred and fifty
pounds of wild goat.

36
Flint and steel - - where
matches are an undreamed
luxury.

37
Goat's meat!

38
As the morrow breaks
 over the mountains.

39
But we must push on to 
an unknown land where
lives a Forgotten People.

40
And here our trail joins 
the great caravan route.
East - East - always East.

41
Camels in the snow!

42
And out of the Mountains.

43
Out across the barren 
infinity of Arabia.

44
The one sign of man's
 law from Bagdad to
Nedjd.

45
Desert Policemen!

46
The desert patrol protects
peaceful tribesmen from
the marauding Bedouins.

47
Here a hundred men 
patrol a territory larger
   than Arizona.

48
Off duty - - just like every
police station in the world.

49
Mohammed, in command --

50
- - shows us how they 
spend a slow day - -

51
- - by turning out the guard.

52
And that evening, the
policemen's ball.

53
So for months we
 traveled -- met with
many strange peoples - -
endured many hardships -

54
But going ahead, we
were turning the pages 
backwards -- on and on 
further back into the 
centuries - -

55
Till we reached the first
Chapter, arrived at the 
very beginning - -

56 [text fades in over map]
  The
FORGOTTEN
 PEOPLE

57
We know them by the
ancient life of tent and
tribe and herd, the life of
three thousand years ago.

58
Some of their children are 
white and fair before they 
are tanned by the sun of 
Arabistan.

59
Dinner time!

60
Dinner time for everybody!

61
HAIDAR KHAN

	chief of the tribes and
	master among men.

62
LUFTA

	son and heir of the chief,
	proud in his ninth year.

63
Affairs of large moment
 are on the mind of
Haidar.

64
"The grass withers. The
 blight of sun and drought
 is upon us and our herds
        hunger...."

65
"There is no green thing
 and the flocks will die,
 and after them the
 women, the children and
       the men."

66
As the day wanes, Haidar
calls his headmen together.

67
"Gather the flocks and
 herds - - the grass is
     almost gone."

68
"Our way is to the East --
 to the far valley of Iran,
 where the meadows are 
   rich with plenty."

69
"Dance now, for tomorrow 
         we go."

70
Haidar can out-do them all
- - be it shooting, fighting, 
swimming or - -

71
When we went to sleep 
we were surrounded by 
tents, but when we
awoke - -

72
Everyone working - - even
Haidar, the Chief.

73
Lufta is proud to be trusted 
with the Kalyan, his father's
council pipe.

74
Haidar with Lufta - - off
to command the Quest for
Grass!

75
A thousand camps are 
gathering....gathering....
     gathering.

76
All the fifty thousand of
the Bakhtyari must go the
way of Haidar - - all on
the way to grass.

77
These are not packs on the 
women's backs -- but heavy, 
covered, wooden cradles --
with a baby in every cradle!

78
If you're one of the really
      smart set....

79
....you carry your baby 
on an Arab horse....

80
All the world's afoot --
On the move to Grass!

81
The tramp of fifty thousand
          feet!

82
The thunder of half a 
   million hoofs!

83
For days they journey over 
 rugged hills, camping in
the valleys - until one morning
before them roars a deep
and treacherous torrent ....

84
The mighty river Karun!

85
Not a bridge, not a boat
- - and the fifty thousand
are coming!

86
How would you cross this
river - - taking your home
and family with you?

87
Even the pioneers of the 
Covered Wagon days
never thought of this - -

88
With goat skin floats - -

89
After punctures are 
plugged - -

90
Animals, cradles, everything
- - all must cross the river.

91
Horses, cows, sheep,
donkeys and men swim
- - but if a goat can, he
won't.

92
[animated title; text 
appears at various angles]
B-A-A-A! B-A-A-A!
B-A-A-A-A-A! B-A-A-A-A-A!
B-A-A-A! 
   B-A-A-A-A! 
B-A-A-A! B-A-A-A!
B-A-A-A-A-A! B-A-A-A!

93
All aboard!

94
The first Leviathan sails.

95
Always room for one more
- - if it's a goat.

96
        "YO ALI!"

- - their ancient battle cry.

97
Glacial water, white with
rock dust, cold with the
chill of mountain ice.

98
Watch that middle donkey!

99
They tie the calf to the 
raft, hoping the cow will
follow.

100
Mama, anxious but cautious,
lingers.

 (She didn't raise her boy to
  be a sailor.)

101
A hard man, this Chief
Haidar - - and like father,
like son.

102
From half a dozen points
- - Haidar and his men ...

103
"YO ALI!"

104
Talk about Rapids!

105
"YO ALI!"

106
Roaring waters!
Screaming tribesmen!
Bellowing herds!
Cries of the drowning!

107
Swirling down to death.

108
Just in time.

109
While the river takes its
toll of life, the first
swimmers land.

110
For six days and nights more,
an endless, desperate, battling
mob were crossing the River
Karun -- they were crossing
at every point -- crossing at
every moment -- day and
  night -- crossing --

111
A week later, as night
 approaches, Haidar
and Lufta - -

112
-- see before them a 
hundred and fifty miles 
of rugged, unmapped 
mountains.

113
On the way where there 
is no way.

114
"The riding kid" is with us.

115
Week after week filled
with toil and danger - -
yet the tribes struggle on.

116
At length they make the
night's camp at the foot 
of a precipice - -

117
- - and morning finds them
stopped by two thousand 
feet of sheer rock wall.

118
Impossible to climb!

119
Impossible?

120
No! Starvation lies behind
and ahead lie Grass and 
Life. We must go on!

121
High on the cliff - - where 
even a goat can barely find
foothold.

122
A girl with a live calf on 
her back! -- She struggles
on hour after hour - -
you can see her in the
center of the picture.

123
Beyond the cliff and the
  next night's camp,
Haidar and Lufta lead on
into the snow mountain
country.

124
The snow mountains' first 
line of defense ....

125
They pour a swirling torrent
down their snow-clad slopes
across the path of the
oncoming tribes.

126 [animated text: 1st line shivers;
     2nd line fades in after a moment]
     B-R-R-R!
This water's COLD!

127
Any way to get there, 
even a cow will do.

128
Baby's first bath.

129
With skirts in the freezing 
water, the women struggle 
gamely on.

130
"YO ALI!"

131
"Ride 'em, kid!"

132
"Everywhere that Mary 
      went - -"

133
On and on come the fifty
thousand.

134
And now, at last, the 
tribes come face to face
with the most dreaded 
enemy of all - -

135
- - fierce old Zardeh Kuh,
twelve thousand feet of 
defiance in rock and
snow and ice.

136
Haidar and his volunteers
cast aside their shoes of 
flimsy cotton - - useless as 
bedroom slippers in a 
blizzard.

137
They must go barefoot into
the snow to break trail.

138
On come the tribes!

139
The fight begins in earnest!

140
There's courage in the
pipes.

141
A mule knows where to 
be sick.

142
Barefoot! Barefoot through
        the snow!

143
"Wallah Billah! Get on,
 Oh, Mother of Satan!"

144
"YO ALI!"

145
Haidar leads bravely on.

146
Five hours on -- struggling
up and up, always up.

147
The "riding kid" is still 
with us.

148
No quarter to women and 
      children!

149
They must go on or die!

150
Ten thousand feet -- where
the wind is keen as steel.

151
Like flies against the 
vertical mountain-side
clings the desperate
       horde.

152
Zardeh Kuh's last rampart,
two thousand feet of ice
and stone, straight up.

153
Night and day they come,
fighting up and up
endlessly.

154
But slowly the top of
Zardeh Kuh grows
   nearer ....

155
[animated title, text grows bigger]
NEARER.

156
At last the great moment
  -- the battle with fate
is won - -

157
ZARDEH KUH IS
 CONQUERED!

158
"YO ALI!"

159
Lufta - - in the vanguard
- - surveys a world of
victory.

160
With frozen, bleeding feet
and pain-wracked bodies
.... stumbling down ....
down .... the other side.

161
Cradle laden mothers of 
men .... staggering and
falling ....

162
Hope quickens the step.

163
Hurry, hurry on - - the
valley of promise beckons.

164
      "YO ALI!"

The snow is left behind.

165
The conquered foe.

166
They have fought and 
attained their goal -- they
have fought a valiant
       fight.

167
They have reached the
Promised Land - - the
Land of "Milk and
Honey" - -
  the Land of GRASS.

168
The Tents of Haidar 
   are up again!

169
 Now all that is left of this
  epic struggle are memories
  - - and the last document
  witnessed by Major Robert
  Imbrie, the American Consul,
  who shortly after met his
  death in the streets of 
  Teheran.

THE END

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