Film director Sumner McKane weaves together a fascinating story of the history of logging in Maine. Using vintage footage and images, McKane offers a short history lesson of the northernmost New England logger and river man in In The Blood: Uncovering the Life, Skills & Character of the Turn of the Century Maine Lumbermen and River Drivers. $19.95.
Wonderful short movies and still images of camp life abound with audio interviews of men remembering their time working out in the middle of the woods. There are discussions of staying warm in the bunks, drying clothes on the “stink pole” and having beans three times a day along with donuts, Johnny cakes and lots of coffee.
These log camps ran from October to March and men were hired and paid based on their skills and their job in camp. Working from before sun-up to after dark six days a week, lumber camp wasn’t for the faint of heart.
Come March it was time to get the logs down river – and here again, they lived a life of constant danger. Rivers and streams were dammed to hold back the spring water until the logs were ready and there was enough volume to wash the logs downstream. There is amazing footage of men working on rivers and lakes, and discussion of log booms, capstans, walking the logs and dealing with jams. At $19.95, this film is both history lesson and entertainment. DVD only.