Robert W. Morgan sincerely believes in Bigfoot and has dedicated a good portion of his life not just to proving that they exist, but also studying them. Morgan has written extensively about his experiences in the field searching for the legendary Cryptid as well as articulating his theories regarding the very nature of Bigfoot. To most such a proposition seems crazy, but for Robert W. Morgan it is a life’s work.
In Search Of Bigfoot (1975) is a documentary record of the expedition that Robert W. Morgan led in search of Bigfoot at Mount St. Helens. Filmmakers Lawrence Crowley and William F. Miller take a non-partisan view of the expedition. In Search Of Bigfoot is framed as Robert W. Morgan’s quest to find substantial evidence of Bigfoot. Morgan is never a figure of fun nor is he ever depicted heroically; he is simply depicted with respect.
Though Morgan’s quest is the centerpiece of In Search Of Bigfoot, the film itself is layered with contextualizing asides, primarily focused on the wildlife present on Mount St. Helens or the practices of the logging companies working there. These indisputable facts lend Morgan’s theories an air of credibility by proxy. This information also helps to illustrate to the audience just how determined Morgan and his team are to prove that Bigfoot is real.
In Search Of Bigfoot is a portrait of a man’s dream where it is the very act of the dreaming that is emphasized and of greatest importance. Whether Morgan is right or not is inconsequential to the fact that he believes he is. Robert W. Morgan would be at home amongst the protagonists of many a Werner Herzog film where it is dedication rather than success that is valued.
Screening a double-bill of In Search Of Bigfoot and The Legend Of Boggy Creek would be fascinating. Both films were made at the height of the Sasquatch craze and both employ documentary film tactics. The Legend Of Boggy Creek uses reenactments to convince the viewer that its creature is real while In Search Of Bigfoot avoids dramatic reenactments and is content to focus on the researchers rather than selling a bill of goods. Yet these two films represent an aspect of American folk culture that is essential to understanding the ramifications of Manifest Destiny.
As Robert W. Morgan often points out he is “going where the landscape hasn’t changed in a thousand years”. These Bigfoot represent the last mystery of that final American frontier. If they exist and it is proven then America will truly have been “settled”. If the Bigfoot is never found and proof remains elusive then there will always be that possibility of imagination.