Rockies: Kingdoms of the Sky

By Dan Clendenin

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Rockies: Kingdoms of the Sky (2018)

This one-hour documentary is the first of three episodes called “Kingdoms of the Sky” that were made by PBS in conjunction with the BBC. The superb production quality is just what you would expect. This is television at its best. The other two episodes explore Himalaya and the Andes. I watched all three movies via streaming on the PBS website. The Rocky Mountains run 3,000 miles along the spine of North America through Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and then into Canada to the frozen Yukon. They are a sanctuary to some of North America’s iconic animals featured in this film — big horn sheep, wolverines, wolves, mountain lions, grizzly and black bears, mule deer, elk herds, bison, and humming birds with a pulse of 1,000 beats per minute (the better to fly solo 3000 miles from the Canadian north to Mexico when only a month old). They are also the historic home lands of Native American tribes (shown competing in their traditional horse relay race), and later 19th-century pioneers who were drawn to the mining work. The Rockies are a land of wild extremes — massive snow melts in the spring, winds of two hundred miles per hour, and a one hundred degree temperature swing in a single day. As if all this natural history was not enough, the film also features mountain climber-skiers (think 50 MPH down hill), and daredevil wing suit flyers who jump off the Rocky’s cliffs and soar like eagles. All three of these episodes would make for a fantastic family movie night.

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