The Last Trapper (2004)

Impression: This movie is in some strange category of its own. It is not exactly a documentary, as some things are staged for dramatic effect, but it features the real life of a trapper in far north Canada, playing himself.  The acting is a little clumsy when it involves any dialogue (since none of the characters are professional actors), and the writing is maybe a little preachy at times, but the gorgeous scenery and the shots of him moving through landscape with his dogs or horses make it completely worth it. Norman is a trapper and he lives off the land, except when he goes into Dawson to sell his furs, hang out with people and have a few drinks.  The logging is threatening their way of life, and they completely move locations and build themselves a new log cabin in an area where there is more trapping to be done. Some drama is added when his favorite dog is killed in town and he has to train and adjust to a new one. Some other dramatic situations arise, and there is minimal contact with another trapper living at least a day’s trek away.  But all of these plot elements are just a vehicle for getting the viewer to appreciate how different Norman’s life is from anyone who might be watching the movie.  The value of this film is in showing this remote landscape through stunning cinematography and dramatic action sequences, so any dialogue and plot are very much secondary  to any of that.

Facts: A trapper and his wife live in the wilderness of the far north of Canada (Yukon Territory, a few days trek from Dawson City pop: 1,375) with his partner, 7 dogs and 2 horses.

Extra: Ran across the movie when searching for Leonard Cohen songs on youtube and seeing the video for By The Rivers Dark. The song is actually featured heavily in the movie.


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