Emigrant Road - An Oregon Trail Adventure
All materials copyright Southwind Productions, All rights reserved

Photo Copyright Southwind Productions

"Out early this morning, and our pathway now lies in the valley of the magnificent Platte river,... Picture to yourself a broad river winding through green meadows covered with grass which grows to the water's edge, beautiful little islands setting like gems upon its bosom, on some bright morning when the sun first spreads his golden rays over the same, and tell me if you do not see 'enchanted land'." -John Hawkins Clark, May 26th, 18521

James R. Tompkins
James R. Tompkins

We're off on an adventure!

Climb aboard your wagon and join me as we journey along the Emigrant Road, on an Oregon Trail adventure!

My name is Jim Tompkins, and I'm a filmmaker. In 1996, I set out along the two-thousand-mile-long Oregon Trail with my camera to tell a story. I had read accounts of the journey of nearly four-hundred-thousand people who set out upon the trail west in the middle of the nineteenth century. I wanted to see what they saw, to see if the same sights they had come to love were still there.

Emigrant Road is the result. It is a feature-length travelogue documentary motion picture produced for Travelogue Film Series-type lectures. Emigrant Road tells the story of what it might have been like to travel along the Oregon Trail in the 1840's and 1850's. Whole families uprooted themselves and their possessions, turned upon the road and left behind all that they knew for a new life in Oregon.

Along the way were many dangers, among them disease, starvation, hazardous river crossings, rugged terrain and early snows. They met mountain men and ministers, native cultures and fellow travelers, all of whom became new friends and new enemies.

Many of the scenes described in emigrant journals still exist today. Touring them can give a little of the sense of what it was like. Share in the sights and sounds of the trek of a lifetime. Please join me in this journey along the Oregon Trail.

This website is intended to inform, to teach and to inspire you to enjoy and preserve the Oregon Trail for future generations. It is also designed to compliment the experience of those who come to see Emigrant Road - An Oregon Trail Adventure at a Travelogue Film show. Whatever your route in getting here, welcome, and thank you for joining me.

-J.R. Tompkins

Travelogue Film Lectures feature a motion picture shown to a live audience, usually with music and sound effects, with the filmmaker providing narration, on-stage, and in-person. Often these shows are presented by educational institutions and civic organizations as part of a motion picture lecture series. The shows, which combine cinematography with a live theatrical experience, are popular with audiences throughout the United States and Canada. The art form has been around for over one hundred years.

Follow the wagons....

Return to Contents; Photo Copyright Southwind Productions

1Herbert Eaton, The Overland Trail, To California in 1852 (New York: Capricorn Books, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1974), p. 15.

Produced by Southwind Productions