Sunday, July 16, 2017

Burning Settler's Cabin

How many burning buildings are beloved by thousands? Not too many! But the old Burning Settler's Cabin on Tom Sawyer Island was special, and I had sort of hoped (against all logic) that a new version of it would be added to the island when the Rivers of America reopened. No such luck. Anyway, here are two photos from different lots.

We're kind of far away in this first view (circa 1958), but that gives us more of a sense of the cabin being located in the midst of a vast and lonely wilderness. Even from here, the settler's broken body can be seen.

Zooming in, it is evident that the settler is draped over some kind of bench, as if he really was caught completely by surprised when he ran out of the blazing cabin. To the left is a split-rail fence protecting his meagre corn crop from pesky deer.

Here is the same scene in 1962. The bench is gone.  The front yard is full of tree stumps, evidence of the hard work needed to clear even a small patch of land. The flames look even more fierce here. Did the settler have a wife and a child? I know it's just a mannequin, but that's the power of storytelling for you. 


Nanook said...


Once again the Imagineers prove their unending talent when it comes to creating "wilderness" smack-dab in the middle of 20th century civilization. And no more so than in the first image, where if you didn't know where it was located, you would swear it was far, far away from the "wilds" of Orange County.

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

The sense of the cabin being located in the midst of a vast and lonely wilderness is key here. That's what made the Rivers of America and its various scenes of life along the river so great.

The burning cabin/dead settler tableau is very powerful storytelling. It's the story of human struggle and conflict. Man vs. nature, man vs. man and man vs. society.

Nice pics today, Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

The attack happened in the after hours, so the settler's wife and children were safe in their 9th-floor apartment downtown.

Steve DeGaetano said...

The first arrow wasn't deadly; which is why he was able to get up, move the bench and clear more land later.

Anonymous said...

Back in the day...when the settler was still wearing his 'arrow' shirt! KS

Clyde Hughes said...

I've always loved this scene, for the power in the story telling, as Ken has rightly said. All of the outdoor scenes, almost like dioramas, are like paintings, into which you can walk...

I thought the settler might have passed out whilst waiting for his AllState Insurance Agent.
I have to agree with the distance in time between the two arrows, however. Filing a claim for a first arrow is such a headache. The agent may claim that you ought to wait until any more damage is done, before you file your claim. What a black mark on the settler's policy! ;-)
I just hope the settler didn't do it just for the insurance money. Perhaps he decided to chop a few extra trees down to take advantage of the 'timber clause.'