Seriously? Seriously! Marshall Publishing & Promotions has “Media Fun for Everyone”. You can check out their books, books on CD or DVDs. We were able to check out The History of the Oregon Trail and The Pony Express DVD.
I liked being able to hear the audio of a presentation being given. The boys said it reminded them of the sit down spots in the museum tours, which they enjoy. The sound effects are great and keep the cadence lively. This isn’t what I’d consider an “entertainment” film, but rather an educational film that will keep the attention of any type or age learner.
They mix photography, a few re-enactments, maps and music/sound effects to make the spoken story come to life. You’ll hear the old timers give their testimony and listen to the leaders give their reasoning of their decisions.
The Oregon Trail was the reason we picked this review. We had family travel from Missouri to Oregon – but later – in the early 1900’s. Even with all of the information booths around the towns we’ve lived in, they didn’t realize that the trail was blazed by foot and covered wagons. The vast amount of people who took this trail was overwhelming to both boys. I had thought a higher percentage had not made it across, but with the number that traveled, the percentage is actually a bit small. This film had enough information to spark their interest, lead to more questions, and start conversations in our home. The film has a 2009 copy write on it – I would hope, if they make revisions, that a drive along the trail may be in order. They talked about Farewell Bend – and the photos were not of any part of the town. A few other places mentioned – it seemed like the photo did not quite match the area. This isn’t a bit deal – it really came close and you definitely get a feel for the journey. The maps really bring the distance to life. Speaking of distances:
The Pony Express is the other topic/film on this DVD. I didn’t know that the term of the Pony Express was so short – 19 months. I was shocked at the price of posting a letter is the same as overnight mail today! The boys liked it that the state of Texas seemed to be the entire eastern seaboard and Texas combined. That made the laugh. They asked about Wells Fargo – and were drawn to the movie. I was surprised at how many stations there were for horses and their breaks. It is interesting – that as soon as the transcontinental telegraph was put into working order – there was no longer a need for the swift transportation of the written communication, enough to put the Pony Express out of business. Seems like we hear the same complaints between email and postal mail.
The movies are short 16 minutes and 35 minutes on one DVD.
If you are like me – and just don’t get excited about reading out loud – this might be a great avenue for your students. If your children like Audio Books, they should LOVE these DVD’s. This would make a great introduction to audio books to those not ready to listen intently – as the images are created for you.
One small personal note – both films seemed to give the Oregon Trail participants and the Pony Express Riders into Hero type status. The native peoples who lived in the land they were crossing were seen as villains and a reason that each journey was hindered. The images of the native peoples were quite stereotypical to those shown in the 70’s and 80’s. You’d think with so many tribes seeking Restoration and Federal Recognition these last 20 years – with so much “real” history available from the tribes – that their side of these conflicts would be portrayed more accurately. We found the portrayals to be consistent with ignorant history that was distributed in the 70’s and 80’s and possibly today to those who do not research. If a thousand people walking from your front gate through your back fence, picked your flowers, went though your house and ruined your yard – you would probably call the police or fight back. Same with the pony express. 150 stations of riders going faster than the wind would have caused alarm. As a Native American – I have learned to forgive the arrogance and ignorance of history story makers. I would ask that you spend some time with the kiddos asking why the Natives might have been upset at these journeys.
Oh! I forgot to mention – There are discussion questions and helpful tips on the website – on the DVD page – it says “ STUDY GUIDE Subject Areas: U.S. History, U.S. Geography Grade Level: 4th Grade through Adult”
The Oregon Trail and Pony Express is on sale now for $19.95. Use the coupon code TOS27 for free shipping of your order.
Disclaimer: I was able to review the The History of the Oregon Trail and The Pony Express DVD for free as part of my time with the Schoolhouse Review Crew. Check out Marshal Publishing’s site for more titles, and the Schoolhouse Review Crew’s Blog Post to see what my fellow crew mates had to say about their selections!