Historical Photo of 12 Blackfeet Natives from Browning Heading to Hollywood
September 16, 2020
This photo shows a group of Blackfeet Native-Americans leaving the Browning train station for Hollywood, where they were to appear in the 1939 Shirley Temple film "Susannah of the Mounties."
The twelve full-blooded Blackfeet were to be extras in the film, relatively rare in an era where Hollywood was more likely to hire readily available Hispanic actors, if not just Caucasians in facepaint to appear as "Indians."
Chief Albert Mad Plume, pictured in the back row, second from the right, was a medicine man and leader of the group. Interestingly enough, a painting of Albert Mad Plume can be seen in the Wellcome Collection, in London.
A Blackfeet boy named Martin Good Rider, also from Browning, appeared in the film as Little Chief and became friends with Shirley Temple, not usually known for befriending other child actors.
All 12 of the Blackfeet were named members of the Shirley Temple Police Force. Shirley Temple, in turn, was made an honorary member of the Blackfoot tribe.