The Swallows of the Goldrush

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Television version  59 Min.
Video-Film version
The Swallows of the Goldrush  83 Min.
Photo Portfolio

The Spell of the Yukon
I wanted the gold and I sought it:
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy - I fought it:
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold and I got it -
Came out with a fortune last fall.
Yet somehow life's not what I thought it.
And somehow the gold isn't all.
Robert Service

When gold was discovered in the Klondike region in 1898 people from far and wide dropped everything and set off for the gold fields to try their luck. The kind of hardships they endured inspired Jack London to write various books, and of course Charlie Chaplins well known film The Goldrush. Years after the first goldrush, in about 1910, two rival enterprises triggered a second one when they began extensive exploration of the same area with the help of giant floating dredges. Today this machinery lies rusting in the centre of a fascinating manmade landscape. But the fever for gold and the desire to turn a quick buck linger on. There are now 250 companies, large and small. working the Klondike fields with the help of ,,state-of-the-art" technology. Moreover, the area and its rich history attract a never-ending flow of tourists. In the centre of Dawson City a flock of cliff swallows has built nests in the Freemasons Temple, one of the most imposing buildings in town. The melancholy cry that accompanies their flight lends a characteristic touch of poetic charm to this strange part of the world. Following the swallows high into the sky the camera gives us a bird's eye view of the scene below and the violent impact mankind has on the natural environment.