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Film / In Beaver Valley

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In Beaver Valley, sometimes called just Beaver Valley, is a 1950 short film (32 minutes) directed by James Algar.

It's one of Disney's "True-Life Adventures" series of nature documentaries. This one purports to depict a single season in a valley somewhere high in the Rockies, christened "Beaver Valley". The film starts out with a lake formed by a beaver dam, and then demonstrates how the beaver builds his little home. Then it follows one young adult beaver from the clan, as it finds a mate, builds its own nest, and stores food for the winter. The film then spends time with the other wildlife of Beaver Valley—herons, ducks, otters, salmon swimming upstream to spawn, and bears.


  • Based on a True Story: All the True-Life Adventure films were led by a credit saying that they were "completely authentic, unstaged, and unrehearsed." This was not true.
  • Bears Are Bad News: A scene of salmon leaping the rapids to find their spawning grounds upstream shows that some wind up stuck in shallow pools on the rocks. Then the narration says "a few encounter the Prince of Darkness himself", as the scene cuts to a bear walking through the rapids and scraping fish off the rocks. There's even an ominous musical cue.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: As the narrator says "A mother owl keeps her eye peeled for intruders," that mother owl gazes intently straight at the camera.
  • Circling Vultures: The narration observes that, once having spawned in the sands of the riverbed, the salmon basically lay down and die. A sequence shows dying fish limply flopping around in shallow water, then cuts to a shot of birds circling overhead.
    "Overhead the ravens, nature's scavengers, hover in ever-diminishing circles, waiting."
  • Love Triangle: The beaver that broke away from his family has to fight off an "intruder" who also wants the female.
  • Manipulative Editing: Despite the Based on a True Story disclaimer, these films regularly manipulated reality for the viewer. The opening titles, specifically the "thanks to" credit, gives away that Beaver Valley is somehow both in Montana and Minnesota.
  • Medium Blending: Like most of these films, In Beaver Country opens with animation that starts in the Rockies and takes us to our scene in the valley, before cutting to live action.
  • Narrator: Winston Hibler narrates as usual.
  • Narrative-Driven Nature Documentary: All the Disney nature documentaries were this, striving to make the animals as cute and as anthropomorphic as possible, while interjecting witty, droll narration. A sequence of frogs croaking is introduced with "There's romance in the air. This is the soulful serenade of the lovelorn frogs."
  • Nature Documentary: Busy beavers, and other fauna, in a particular mountain valley.
  • Title Drop: Two-for-one with one of the narrator's first lines, as he says "such a place is Beaver Valley, the setting for another true-life adventure.