Wild West Chronicles: The Legend of the Blue-Eyed Apache
When a young boy is torn away from his frontier family, he becomes a man amongst the Apache, fully adapting to their customs and language. Though the years pass by, his mother never gives up hope that she will be reunited with her son once again.
This is a unique episode of the series, and this fourth episode focuses on a kidnapped boy from Loyal Valley, Texas, who was taken by the Apache, and he became known as the “Blue-eyed Apache.”
Bat Masterson continues in his role in this series as the newspaper reporter, and the chronicler of the western events. Bat visits Mrs. Lehmann, the mother of Herman Lehmann, the boy who was kidnapped. Lehmann went on to write an auto-biography titled, Nine Years Among the Indians.
Herman played with his brother, Willie, and his sister, Wilhelmina, as a boy. In one scene Wilhelmina is chopping wood with a hatchet, and Herman is holding the wood, and she misses and catches Herman’s arm. He endures this wound and the mending of it without even shedding a tear. His mother recounts that he was a stubborn and tough boy. This scar would play a part later in the events of the episode.
One day while playing outside with his siblings a couple of Apache warriors come along and kidnap Herman and his brother Willie. By the time their father gets outside with his rifle, it is too late. They have been captured. The father hesitates to pursue them into Apache territory, believing he would not live to return.
Mrs. Lehmann, years later, tells Masterson that Herman was not a legend, but “my son.” Later, Willie manages to escape but Herman will be with the Indians for the next nine years. Still, his mother never gave up hope that she would one day be reunited with her son. A touching scene involves Mrs. Lehmann clutching her son’s teddy bear, and crying. An Apache woman becomes a surrogate mother to Herman.
An Apache becomes a surrogate father to Herman, and teaches him to shoot his arrows from a bow. In one scene, he shoots an already killed animal, hung up as target practice. Later, another Indian kills his surrogate father and Herman in turn kills him. Now, fearing for his life among some of the Apache, he leaves and joins the Comanches. Later in the episode, we learn that while with the Comanches that Herman is discovered as the long-lost son of his searching mother.
They are reunited and it is when Wilhelmina sees the scar on Herman’s arm that they know for sure this is their missing son and brother. He joins the family again but continues to enjoy eating Indian food and sleeping outside, even building a teepee outdoors. Interestingly, we learn that after his death Herman Lehmann was buried next to his mother in Texas.
This 21-minute episode has earned our Dove seal for Ages 12+.
The Dove Take
Families will enjoy this unique and true story of a young boy who was captured by the Apache, and eventually returned to his family.