Documentary Screening of “Or Perish in the Attempt: Medicine of the Lewis and Clark Expedition”

Dr. David J. Peck

Dr. David Peck

One of the many challenges the Lewis and Clark Expedition faced was meeting the health needs of its members during extended wilderness travel in an era marked by limited understanding of the human body, and no diagnostic tools, laboratories, or knowledge of bacteria and viruses. Miraculously, in spite of the limited practical knowledge, lack of surgical instruments, and small supply of mostly worthless medications, only one man in the Expedition died during the more than two years of formidable travel.

This documentary, written and narrated by four-time Emmy winner Craig Wirth, focuses on the medical thinking and practices of the time. It includes physician commentary from Gary Moulton, Ph.D., editor of the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Following the screening, co-producer and physician Dr. David Peck will answer audience questions and offer insights into the medicine of the era. After the program, Dr. Peck will be available to sign copies of his book, “Or Perish in the Attempt: The Hardship and Medicine of the Lewis and Clark Expedition,” in the museum store.