Land of the Crimson Cliffs

Sullivan C. Richardson (unconfirmed)
Production Date: 
Sullivan C. Richardson
Sullivan C. Richardson
Run Time: 
Viking Pictures Corporation; World School of Adventure, Ch. 5.

Field Associate: Arnold Whitaker
Establishing shot: A mid-close up of a man, dressed in a suit and tie, reading a large paper map. A world map can be seen in the background and in the foreground is a large desk, which the man is reading at. The narrator then puts the map down and begins narrating. The narration then becomes voice over as the scene cuts to a car driving on a barren dirt road of Utah.
Named locations:  Southeast corner of Utah; The area now known as Four Corners; Dead Horse Point (sign); Chicago; Salt Lake City; Route 66; Arizona; Crimson Corner; New Orleans; El Paso; Kansas; New Mexico; Colorado; the Southwest; Denver; Phoenix; Monument Valley; The Natural Bridges; Dead Horse Point; The Arches Monument; The Goosenecks of San Juan; Mexican Hat; Emperor, the Mittens; Castle Rock; Big Indian Butte; Rooster Rock; Sitting Hen; Brigham's Tomb; Casket Butte; Totem Pole; The Three Sisters.

Googlemap of the film locations:

Major themes covered: The landscapes of Utah and other areas of the Red Desert; Overview of the Navajo who live in Monument Valley
Native activities shown

This film portrays a Navajo family at leisure, laughing and sitting outdoors.

Also documented are portions of a two-day healing chant. This ritual begins with a group of four men participating in a sweat ceremony inside a small mud hogan and once done, finishing with a ritual ablution with sand. Following this, the filmmakers record a Navajo medicine man (hataałii) carefully constructing a sandpainting ('iikááh) depicting “Pollen Boy on the Sun.” Once complete, a little boy, of three or four years old, is set down onto the sandpainting and the medicine man begins the sing, keeping time with a rattle. Once complete, the small boy is lifted from the painting and dusted clean; off camera, the sand painting is erased.

Mark Bahti’s Guide to Navajo Sandpaintings, contains an illustrated entry on Pollen Boy on the Sun.  See: Bahti, Mark.  A Guide to Navajo Sandpaintings. Tucson, Arizona: Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2000,  38.




Individuals Named:  Arnold (field associate Arnold Whitaker)
Native language spoken:  No native language spoken
Audible: Good quality audio
Noteworthy elements:  Lists several locations; Good information about a healing ceremony for a boy with tuberculosis

Other notes:  Produced in cooperation with the State of Utah; Viewed and passed by The Association of American Colleges, 1947.

Viking Pictures was founded in 1947 By Sullivan Richardson. Based in Chicago, the first films produced by this company were two documentaries of Richardson’s 1940 expedition, by car, from Washington, D.C., into Central and South America along the Pan American highway. Viking Pictures produced instructional and corporate films for clients ranging from Encyclopedia Britannica to Mutual of Omaha (MacDonald, n.d.).

MacDonald, J.F.  "Sullivan’s travels: An explorer with the soul of an anthropologist & the eye of an artist." (n.d.). Retrieved from:

Connection to other AIFG films:

Painting with Sand (A Navajo Ceremony), also produced by Viking Pictures, contains extended footage of the healing ceremony depicted in this film (

Extensive outtake footage from this expedition can be found in Navajo Outtakes 1 ( and Navajo Outtakes 2 (

Also by Sullivan Richardson and Viking Pictures:  Rough Road to Panama (I was unable to find this on SG’s inventory-MS). Also online at the Internet Archive:

--Mikel Stone, 2012