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On the Trail: Jack Kerouac in Cheyenne, Wyoming

BCM presents a Kaeru Pictures Production


Plot Outline: Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is a classic American literature work. Kerouac writes about his experiences in Cheyenne, Wyoming during “Wild West Days” on his way to Denver via Longmont.

“The stars seemed to get brighter the more we climbed the High Plains. We were in Wyoming now. ... As the truck reached the outskirts of Cheyenne we saw the high red lights of the local radio station, and suddenly we were bucking through a great crowd of people that poured along both sidewalks. ‘Hell’s bells, it’s Wild West Week,’ said Slim.”

That’s how Kerouac described the outskirts of Cheyenne in July 1947 from the back of a pick up truck traveling from Nebraska, probably on the Lincoln Highway.

After his crazy night in Cheyenne, Kerouac (Sal Paradise) travels by Greyhound Bus and hitchhiking to Denver to meet some rowdy, free-living friends waiting out the post World War II slump in the Mile High City. His pals include a Columbia classmate named Allen Ginsberg (Carlo Marx) and Neal Cassady (Dean Moriarty).

"On the Trail: Jack Kerouac in Cheyenne" documents a coming of age theme spanning three generations of "beats". The movie melds historic literature, still images and interviews with next "beat" generation members, including John Allen Cassady, son of Neal Cassady and Mark Watts, son of Alan Watts (Arthur Wayne in "Big Sur") and juxtaposes them with 2009 video of Cheyenne Frontier Days and interviews of "beat" literature students from New Vista High School in Boulder, Colorado.

The project is a documentary, educational and non-commercial. The finished work will be available for educational use and produced in compliance with Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of "Best Practices in Fair Use" as adopted by the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, Independent Feature Project, International Documentary Association, National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, Women in Film and Video, Washington, D.C. Chapter

The project is being produced in collaboration with the Naropa University Jack Kerouac School, the Wyoming State Archives, the Del Rey Restaurant, the Crown Bar, the Albany Bar, the Mayflower and the Plains Hotel - stop by July 17 and 18!

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Tags: boulder, cassady, cheyenne, colorado, days, frontier, jack, kerouac, on, road, More…the, wyoming


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