What do these early films have to do with the North West Mounted Police or history? Absolutely nothing! Members of the NWMP (and the RCMP) are people, not the supermen projected by Hollywood. Other representations of NWMP officers would make you think they never did anything immoral and stepped out of the pages of the Bible. For “people” take a look at “Gunfighters, Thieves and Lawmen” at https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B004V9WZVI
Within the story, actually the second chapter, two of the characters, a Mountie and a cattleman discus the attempts to find and arrest a man listed as Jean Baptiste on reservation rolls but known by his own people as Almighty Voice. This is actually an historical event and demonstrates the attitudes, both white and indigenous of the day and the racism that existed on both sides.
No, I’m not saying that mistaken ideas or racism do not exist today but just that they are different than those ideas of 1897. I believe both sides have mistaken ideas of each other today and both are wrong. I also believe both have racist attitudes concerning the other today and both are in error. At least now each is doing some study of the other but in 1897 there was no study, just guesswork that suddenly became "fact".
Both the initial event that led to Almighty Voice becoming a fugitive and the eventual conclusion of the case did not display exemplary police work. The very best that can be said is that actions by members of the North West Mounted Police during the two year chase were less than laudatory.
That is one of the reasons I write stories about the opening and settlement of the Canadian West. I like to see at least a smidgen of truth appear about the time.
Another reason and the reason I use “historical fiction” is there doesn’t seem to be any real people, a shortage of effort and little entertainment in Canadian history. Our railroads, for example seem to have been built by forceful businessmen, magnates if you will, and somewhat questionable deals made between them and the Federal Government. The actual 'builders' those doing the work are often conspicuous by their absence. Mention can easily be found about miss-treated Chinese on the Rocky Mountain to West Coast section (which will be up-coming in a novel I’m working on) but little has been written about those who worked 12 and 16 hour days laying ballast, cross-ties and rails across the prairies. It isn’t hard to find some information about the companies who built the railroads receiving every second quarter section of land along the right-of-way but little is written about how that interfered with those who tried to homestead the land or buy it out-right for cereal crops and livestock.
Entertainment itself that includes mention of Canada’s history is not particularly hard to find. The American film industry (movies and TV) have a few dozen offerings but it is difficult to find anything in them that is not entertainment – or anything similar to what it was actually like. Canadian offerings, though very few exist have been somewhat better but there is nothing that I am aware of that might be called “factual”.
One notable exception is a made for TV series I remember from the 1960s (?) called “Chilcotin” (I think) much of which was filmed on location (Central BC west of the Fraser River). It was very entertaining, the beginning of the careers of some (such as Chief Dan George) and gave the viewer some idea of what happened during the cattle business work day in that area. Sadly none of the film exists today but it was based on the work of Paul St. Pier and his short story collection,
However, if all one wants is entertainment, some “Hollywood” offerings are certainly that. “Dan Candy’s Law” (aka “Alien Thunder” from 1974) starring Donald Sutherland is one such and is an attempt to relate the story of “Almighty Voice” mentioned above. The writing was done by W.O. Mitchell and when the producers strayed too far from history and created their own story, Mitchell demanded that his name be removed from the production. It can be viewed on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=alien+thunder+1974 but be advised that my representation in “Gunfighters, Thieves and Lawmen” is probably closer to history.
Another piece of Canadian entertainment is “Saskatchewan” (1954) which I like even though it has very little if anything to do with history. It has Alan Ladd, Shelley Winters, Hugh O’Brian, Jay Silverheels, Robert Douglas …a great cast. I also knew one of those who worked with horses off screen and had a few stories to tell in the bunkhouse.
Here are links to a slideshow and the actual movie
Saskatchewan movie - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6bPMRVE5Ew