Turner Classic Movies recently showed the 1958 movie, Wind Across the Everglades , a story of the Audubon Society and bird hunting in the early 1900’s. Bird hunting was a staple of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s as the use of feathers for women’s hats was the fashion of the day. Poaching was a massive industry and game wardens were regularly killed by poachers. Florida’s Everglades were among the battlegrounds in this war to save birds from extinction – that might seem like hyperbole more than a hundred years later but the situation was critical and helped lead to the foundation of the Audubon Society.
Miami was as the movie describes in the 1900’s a sleepy frontier town. A young Christopher Plummer stars in a leading role for the first time as a fiction game warden based loosely on the famous case of Guy Bradley who was murdered in 1905 by a poacher.
Bradley had tried to curtail the lawlessness of the Everglades that had been created by the poachers. His life and death has been celebrated bu the Audubon Society and conservationists for over hundred years.
The movie is an outstanding way to observe the Everglades in that period and get a background on how poachers threatened to exterminate several species of birds around the turn of the last century.