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Through The Lens: ‘The Searchers’

Renee Bright

John Ford’s 1956 Western The Searchers is a masterpiece of the genre. In advance of our in-person screening the film, we'll spend this hour talking about its complex legacy.

If you look at lists of the best American films, you won’t have to scroll down very far before you find The Searchers. The bones of its plot — a lone, morally complicated antihero in search of a missing little girl, kidnapped by Comanche warriors — have been reused time and time again to this day. And, although the story has come to be seen as problematic, the movie actually attempted to address racism. This Friday at noon, we’re joined by film historian Andrew Nelson, as well as Adam Piron, director of the Indigenous Program at the Sundance Institute, to talk about The Searchers.

You can join us for a screening of the searchers on Thursday, March 17th, at 7 p.m. at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. Details here.


  • Andrew Nelson | @DrAPNelson Chair of the Department of Film & Media Arts and Associate Professor of Film Studies at the University of Utah
  • Adam Piron | @adam_piron Member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, filmmaker, Director of the Indigenous Program at the Sundance Institute

Air date: March 11 at noon and March 12 at 11 a.m.