Grass:A Nation’s Battle for Life


Marguerite Harrison, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack travel through Asia Minor to reach a tribe of nomads in Iran known as the Bakhtiari. They follow the tribesmen on their 48-day trek across deserts, rivers and mountains to reach a summer pasture for their flocks. There are hardships and conquests for the 50,000 tribesmen leading their 500,000 animals across the treacherous land. First is fording the raging waters of the Karun River by floating on rafts buoyed by inflated goatskins. Back and forth they go in the frigid waters as some animals drown. Hardest of all is ascending an almost perpendicular mountain in bare feet only to face the even more towering Zardeh Kuh, covered with deep snow, pathless. Finally they descend into their destination — a fertile and grassy valley.

Region of Origin

Year of Release



70 minutes


35mm, B/W


Ernest Schoedsack

Born in Iowa, Schoedsack ran away from home at twelve and headed for California. By the time he was seventeen, he was working as a cameraman. Schoedsack met Cooper in Vienna in 1918. Later, they decided to record the migration of the Bakhtiari tribe of Persia. After filming Grass, he raised money for the team as a cameraman for the New York Zoo-logical Society's trip.

Merian Cooper

MERIAN COLDWELL COOPER (October 24, 1893- April 21, 1973)
After leaving Salisbury's ill-fated expedition, Cooper and Schoedsack decided to work together on a film about the migration of the Bakhtiari tribe of Persia. The film was GRASS, a tremendous hit.