After I saw this ad in a 1924 issue of Boys' Life, I wanted to know more about Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance.
Bernie Dichek's award-winning 1986 documentary Long Lance is based on Donald Smith's book Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance: The Glorious Impostor and the writings of Long Lance.
Was he a total fraud? Well, not like Iron Eyes Cody (a son of Italian immigrants — a movie Indian — best known for giving the USA collective pangs of guilt in the 1970s with a single tear), Long Lance was born Sylvester Long in North Carolina to parents of mixed race (including Native American) but he became an Indian as a way of escaping from the limits of the segregated South.
From a wild west show to the Carlisle School to Canada, to the Great War and back to Canada as a journalist and writer then to mingling with New York's high society in the '20s to a fall from grace in the '30s after he was exposed and finally to a tragic end in Los Angeles in 1932. Like Don Quixote, Long Lance turned his dreams into reality but unlike Cervantes' hero who became remembered as a true knight errant, Long Lance is now remembered more for his fraud.
In the Canadian docudrama The Silent Enemy (1930) Long Lance plays Baluk, mighty hunter, whose silent foe was hunger.
Such unusual films as "Chang" "Moana" "Rango" and "Tabu," "With Byrd at the South Pole" and "The Silent Enemy" prove that photodramas with plots, intrigue and similar ingredients, are but mere trash that deal only with surface trivialities and overlook the basic rhythms that underlie all things. The motion picture camera with its intermittent mechanism is a cosmic instrument designed to record the natural and synthetic rhythms of which it is a part. A film becomes cinematic only when it manifests the cosmic principles of form and movement.
—— Cinematic Design by Leonard Hacker, 1931.
Still selling the Long Lance model high-tops in 1931, B.F. Goodrich used scenes from The Silent Killer to help promote the shoe — supposedly designed with the help of Chief Long Lance — in a series of ads. The next year Long was dead of what the coroner decided was a suicide.
Recommended viewing: Reel Injun