- Directed by Roul Haig
- Starring Peter Coe, Serena Sande, Henry Brandon, Peggy Maley
- Written by Jess Abbott, Roul Haig
Okefenokee (1959) -- The Seminole have lived a simple existence deep in the Florida Everglades for generations, residing in thatched huts and using hand-carved dugouts to navigate the shallow waters filled with tall saw grass and man-eating alligators. When Seminole Chekika returns to his tranquil village after serving time in the U.S. Army, war memories drive him to drink, a habit he picked up in the military. In his absence, white men, like criminal Joe Kalhari, have set up smuggling rings in the isolated Okefenokee Swamp, using powerful airboats guided by young, naïve Seminole men, whom Kalhari then kills when they become suspicious of his operation. One day, Chekika's younger brother Alomah, fearing that he is losing his brother to alcoholism, escorts him to their father, who accuses Chekika of abandoning his responsibility to his people and asks him to investigate the disappearance of several young tribesmen, the most recent being that of Tusekia. When Chekika suggests they go to the police, his father reminds him that the police do not help his people.
Later, Chekika laments to his fiancée Lowheeya that his father remains adverse to Western ideas, including education, which he believes would benefit the Seminole. Although Chekika is anxious to marry her, Lowheeya respects the Seminole ways and asks to wait until the Corn Dance, the traditional time for the ceremony. Later, Chekika visits the Blue Heron bar, where all the missing men had previously worked gigging frogs for the restaurant.
While waiting for owner Ricki Hart, Chekika encounters racist drunk Pulley Mack, who suggests that people of his "kind" cannot hold their liquor and starts a fistfight with Chekika. After the bartender breaks up the fight, Ricki explains that Tusekia quit to take a guide job and generously offers Chekika a job gigging using an airboat, which he readily accepts. Returning to Kalhari's mansion that evening, Ricki, who is the criminal's lover, warns him that Chekika might cause trouble, prompting the self-important Kalhari to vow he will kill the Seminole soon. With his first paycheck, Chekika buys Lowheeya lipstick and, after explaining how to use it, promises that they will buy a modern house with his new income. When Chekika introduces Lowheeya to Ricki at the Blue Heron, Kalhari facetiously asks if they will be married by a medicine man, prompting the insulted Chekika and Lowheeya to leave. That night, Ricki, following Kalhari's orders, asks Chekika to be a guide, but Chekika is wary of working for Kalhari. Having a change of heart, the bar owner quickly offers to hire someone else for the job, knowing she is saving Chekika's life. Later, Alomah, having heard about the high-paying work, approaches Ricki, who hires him for that evening's guide work, unaware that Alomah is Chekika's brother.
After Alomah helps Kalhari and his henchmen navigate the waters to pick up two criminals, Kalhari then orders his henchman to push Alomah overboard and leave him as food for the alligators. The following morning, when Chekika learns from his father that Alomah did not return the previous night, he leaves by airboat for the Blue Heron, where he explains to Ricki that he plans to go to the police if he cannot find his brother. While Chekika continues his search through the Everglades, Lowheeya, having secretly tried to follow her fiancé in a dugout, arrives at the Blue Heron, where Pulley tricks her into following him into an abandoned shack and rapes her. The injured Lowheeya crawls back to the dock, where a Seminole worker finds her and rushes her back to the village. Meanwhile, Ricki warns Kalhari about Chekika's vow to go to the police. Furious that he must close down his operation, Kalhari announces that he is leaving for Havana that next day and that Ricki must remain behind and man the bar for a month to avoid suspicion, adding that she should consider herself fired at the end of the month. Meanwhile, Lowheeya, tortured by rape nightmares, voluntarily begins "the walk," Seminole punishment for sexual contact with white men, in which she must walk into the Everglades, looking directly into the sun to blind herself and cleanse her soul.
After walking for hours and crossing the paths of dangerous water snakes and alligators, Lowheeya's exhaustion causes her to stumble. When Chekika returns to the village and learns of Lowheeya's rape, he understands immediately that she has begun "the walk" and rushes through the Everglades after her. Finding her only seconds before a poisonous snake attacks her, Chekika carries his betrothed back to the village and puts her in his father's care. Chekika then races to the Blue Heron to find Pulley, who shoots at him with a gun he has stolen from Kalhari's airboat. When Chekika survives and easily subdues the drunkard, Pulley begs for his life and offers to tell him the truth about his brother, explaining that Kalhari killed him in the Everglades. Distraught and enraged by the news, Chekika asks his Seminole friend Cantivah to quickly round up all Seminole men owning airboats and meet him at Palm Tree Island. Cantivah goes from village to village spreading the news of Kalhari's guilt and gathering men who arm themselves with sharp, pronged gigging poles and rush to the island.
Soon after, as Kalhari heads to meet the landing hydroplane to flee to Havana, he spots over a dozen airboats charging toward him in the mangrove's open waters. Unable to protect himself without his rifle, Kalhari and his henchman stand vulnerable as the Seminole men thrust their gigging sticks at them. Although Kalhari and his henchman manage to board the plane, during takeoff Chekika rams his boat into the vehicle, jumping from the collision seconds before the resulting explosion kills Kalhari and the others. Having reestablished safety for his people, Chekika joins Lowheeya days later to marry her at the Corn Dance Festival.
Okefenokee DVD is offered as a compact edition. This transfer is manufactured on demand and is presented on premium DVD-R with thermal disc print in a clear plastic wallet. Important: This title has been manufactured from the best-quality video master (rated 8/10) currently available and has not been remastered or restored.
- Additional Information
Format Region 0 DVD Aspect ratio Fullscreen Number of discs 1