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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
This documentary shows the life-and-death relationships of predators to prey in the American Southwest. It also shows how the Navajo tribe lives and interacts with the nature around them.
The Navajo are described as loving, and being respectful of nature and seeing the animals around them as brothers.
Positive Role Models
Steve, a Navajo kid, and Walter, a Caucasian boy, are shown being good friends, working and playing together as they explore Cougar Canyon and protect their flocks from cougars.
Violence & Scariness
Scenes of animal violence between cougars and other animals, some encounters result in death. A young Navajo boy has a nightmare about a cougar attacking his herd of sheep and goats, and as the narrator talks about Navajo beliefs of "dead spirits" in parts of the canyon, quick shots of older Native Americans are combined with a brief shot of a Native American skeleton, and the howls of the dead. A boy is pounced upon by a cougar, but throws him off and defends himself without even a scratch.
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Dated references to Native Americans.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The Navajo go to the trading post and trade goods for "tobacco and cigarettes."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Legend of Cougar Canyon is more of a dated nature documentary from the 1970s than a story about any sort of legend. The first 50 minutes of the film show animals of the Monument Valley region of the American Southwest -- predators and prey, mainly -- fighting for survival, with a kind of Mutual of Omaha narration. For kids accustomed to IMAX and HDTV basic cable nature shows, this old-fashioned-looking movie will lack the pizazz and technical quality they are used to. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
For parents who can recall the days of nature shows like Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, there is some quaint charm to THE LEGEND OF COUGAR CANYON. The overbearing narration, the corny background music, the almost too-perfect choreography of the predators and prey in their habitat, all should bring back quaint memories of growing up pre-digital.
However, for kids and young adults weaned on Blu-Ray, 3-D television, HDTV, DVD, and even VHS nature documentaries, this slice of mid-20th century documentary filmmaking will most certainly prove too corny and dated to be of interest.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.