Rare Film of Kiowa and Comanches Showing in Austin January 25

Sunday, January 25th at 4:00 PM the Austin Film Society is showing a 1920 film, THE DAUGHTER OF DAWN, featuring over 300 members of the Comanche and Kiowa tribes, including the son and daughter of Quanah Parker.

It will be shown at the Marchesa Theater, located at 6226 Middle Fiskville Rd in Austin, east of Highland Mall and just west of I-35, a bit hard to find. You can reserve tickets online, but the theater holds 300, so you probably can just show up at the door before 4:00.

$8 General Admission / $5 AFS MAKE & WATCH members plus students (with valid ID) / Free to AFS LOVE & Premiere members.  AFS complimentary tickets will be accepted at this screening.


Written and directed by Norbert Myles, presented in partnership with the Texas Archive of the Moving Image and Humanities Texas. Following the screening, there will be presentations by Dr. Caroline Frick (Founder and Director of the Texas Archive of the Moving Image) and Dr. Janna Jones (Professor of Electronic Media and Film, Northern Arizona University).

THE DAUGHTER OF DAWN is a rediscovered narrative film featuring White Parker and Wanada Parker, the son and daughter of legendary Comanche chief Quanah Parker. The Texas Film Company (based in Austin) shot the film in the Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma in 1920 (May-July) with a cast of over 300 members of the Comanche and Kiowa tribes. For this docudrama, the cast members provided their own clothing, teepees, and personal items.

Norbert Myles (1887-1966) wrote the script and directed the film. He would eventually go to Hollywood where he became better known as a makeup artist for studio films, including THE WIZARD OF OZ.

But in 1920 Myles was more interested in making films outdoors with real people. Like so many films throughout cinema history, THE DAUGHTER OF DAWN centers on a love triangle. Both White Eagle (played by White Parker) and Black Wolf (Jack Sankadota) are in love with Daughter of the Dawn (Esther LeBarre), daughter of the Kiowa Chief. Complicating matters is Red Wing (Wanada Parker), who also loves Black Wolf. Interspersed with the scenes of courting and unrequited love are battles, dances, and buffalo hunting.

The film played in theaters in Los Angeles, Kansas City, Tulsa, and a few other places before disappearing for over eight decades. A fire at the Texas Film Company had apparently destroyed all copies and materials related to the film. However, a nitrate print was discovered in Georgia in a private collection in 2005. After much negotiation, the film was finally bought by the Oklahoma Historical Society, which had it restored. Dennis Doros of Milestone Films secured the film for digitizing and distribution. An orchestral score by Comanche composer David Yeagley has been added to the silent film.

In 2013, THE DAUGHTER OF DAWN was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

USA, 1920, DCP, B&W, silent with musical score, Milestone Films, 80 min.

3 thoughts on “Rare Film of Kiowa and Comanches Showing in Austin January 25

  1. We used to drive through Quanah TX going back and forth between Wichita Falls, where we lived, and Amarillo, where our son was in school for two years. I always wanted to stop. He was such an interesting character. I’m surprised more hasn’t been done with his life’s story–and his mother’s.

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