Sagecoach, Wyo., 1940

Toni Treadway
Brodsky & Treadway

Toni Treadway introduced Grace Guggenheim to present an 8mm film made in 1940 by a teenage boy, Charles Guggenheim. Grace is his daughter. The film handled by Brodsky and Treadway was 8mm reversal original, silent, 8 minutes long, and the can was labeled Sagecoach,  Wyo. 1940. A copy was screened on DVD.

The film’s title and date suggest the filmmaker and his fellow campers might have been influenced by a famous Hollywood film and director:  John Ford's Stagecoach which came out in 1939. The 8mm film's titles and intertitles read"


a serial in one part

Geronimo’s on the warpath

The stage for Lordsburg

The Gringo Kid stops the stage


To the rescue!

The Plummer Boys

Next week Part Two : The Copperhead Strikes The filmmaker of this youthful 8mm movie was Charles Guggenheim (1924-2002), a prolific and much lauded documentary filmmaker.  He made more than 100 films and was recipient of a Peabody, four Oscars ® and 12 Oscar® nominations.  Guggenheim was born in Cincinnati, graduated from the University of Iowa and soon turned to television production. In 1954 he founded his own film company, which is still based in Washington, DC. His biography states “he often made films on men he liked and believed in, including film biographies for the libraries of Presidents Truman, Kennedy and Johnson, and scores of political advertisements. His first of four Oscars® came for Nine from Little Rock (1964) on the civil rights movement. His other Oscars® were received for the films RFK Remembered  (1968), The Johnstown Flood  (1989), a terrifying document on a disaster, and A Time for Justice  (1994).  His last months were spent finishing the film, Berga, Soldiers of Another War, a documentary about prisoners of war in the 106th Infantry in Nazi Germany, which aired on public television after his death.  We posed questions which interested us to Grace and the viewers and film archivists in the audience and asked them to think of other questions.


  1. If you found this can of film with no filmmaker’s name, just Sagecoach, Wyo. 1940, marked on it, what kinds of notes and research would you do?
  2. Did the Guggenheim family take home movies and if so, who was the filmmaker in the family (the camera person)?
  3. Did Charles make any movies before this one?  If so, what? What films did he talk about seeing as a boy?
  4. How did this film come to you, Grace? Can you read into the record the letter from Charles’s colleague and co-filmmaker at camp, Jack Shay. How can we determine the roles in the filmmaking of Charles and Jack and other campers?
  5. As an adult filmmaker, did Charles ever talk about that summer or John Ford's Stagecoach or his movie Sagecoach?
  6. Was Sagecoach shown silent, or did someone play music or do voice over or ad lib to it?
  7. Are there any accounts of the places or number of times the film was shown, where and to whom?In the overall Charles Guggenheim legacy of film, where does Sagecoach fit?
  8. For film scholars and especially John Ford scholars, where does Sagecoach fit?
  9. When entering this film in a database, what kind of genre or type do you assign it? What other fields or categories need to be created to include the particulars of such a film in an archive?