Prairie Wolf Videos by John & Geri McPherson
Please note--if you have never
watched wilderness survival skills videos before, keep in mind that most are
home videos made by regular people like you and me. In other
words, the production quality is rarely comparable to what you would get from a
You will find that the quality of primitive skills instructional videos varies widely. Some videos have really good information, but they would almost kill you with boredom. Other videos are fun to watch and nicely produced, but not terribly useful. There are relatively few videos that are both educational and stimulating to watch. We have scored each of the videos we carry for information content and the presentation quality. Five *'s in each category is the highest score. The McPherson videos rate very high in information content, but sometimes medium or low in the quality of the presentation.
View: Brain Tan Buckskin
This is the video companion to Chapter One of John & Geri McPherson's book Primitive Wilderness Living and Survival Skills. In this video the McPherson's detail the tanning process from raw skin to finished Buckskins. They explored many methods of tanning and adopted the most simple, time efficient processes they ever encountered. As with every skill they do, they look for function before art. If stuck in a real primitive situation, they want the easiest, most efficient (both for time and energy) method. 80 minutes.
View: Primitive Fire and Cordage
This is the video companion to Chapter Two of John & Geri McPherson's book Primitive Wilderness Living and Survival Skills. The video covers the hand drill and bow drill, plus cordage, and the bamboo fire saw.
The McPherson's prefer the handdrill technique. It was the most common method of fire making by aboriginal peoples throughout the world because it is so simple. There are only two components--the drill and the hearth, sometimes from the same wood source.
Under the harshest conditions, when you need fire the most, then the bowdrill is easier--assuming all the necessary materials are available. That's why cordage making is included in this video, to show you how to make functional bowdrill strings from natural materials. 100 minutes.
View: The Primitive Bow and Arrow
This is the video companion to Chapter Three of John & Geri McPherson's book Primitive Wilderness Living and Survival Skills. In this video John McPherson details every step of the process to make a primitive bow and arrow. The critical part of the process is understanding the basic physics of bow-making, so McPherson spends much of the video in front of the chalkboard, making diagrams that illustrate how to shape a piece of wood so that it will bend efficiently to make a bow. Once you understand these rules then you can make a bow from just about any piece of wood. Then you need an arrow. McPherson outlines the essential rules of making good arrows, and shows you how to make your own from start to finish. 115 minutes.
View: Deer from Field to Freezer
This is the video companion to Chapter Six of John & Geri McPherson's book Primitive Wilderness Living and Survival Skills. Using only common knives found in most kitchens, John McPherson demonstrates how to butcher a deer-sized animal from the moment of the kill all the way until the meat is wrapped and ready to put in the freezer. (Since a deer was not available at the time of filming, they used a goat instead, but the process is the same.) They show you how to skin, how to remove the sinews, and how to "debone" the animal, taking the meat off with a knife, rather than cutting through the bones with a meat saw. With this video you will see how easy it is to transform a fresh carcass into many months worth of good eating. 65 minutes.
View: Primitive Semi-Permanent Shelters
This is the video companion to Chapter Ten of John & Geri McPherson's book Primitive Wilderness Living and Survival Skills. Along with fire, shelter is one of the most important survival that you will need in any primitive living and/or survival situation.
In this video, John spends plenty of time explaining the rules, concepts and materials of good shelter building. Then he and Geri (+ one friend) head out and make four different styles of semi-permanent homes from a variety of natural materials. Note that these are not quick, survival-type shelters you could build in a hurry, but rather these are long-term shelters, the kind that take a little more effort to construct up front to establish a quality primitive dwelling for an extended wilderness living situation. 90 minutes.
View: How-to Construct the Asiatic Composite Bow
By Jeff Schmidt and John McPherson. Centuries ago the Asiatic Composite Bow was used to kick butt. These were short and powerful bows that could be used with a long, heavy arrow. The bows were made with horn and sinew glued to a wooden core to make a bow capable of casting an arrow over half a mile. Jeff Schmidt has built more than two dozen of these bows. In this video he demonstrates his favorite construction techniques. The concept is so simple it will surprise you. 90 minutes.
View: Breaking Rock I
Many flintknappers can make excellent stone tools, but few can clearly explain the process. In this two hour video, the first hour is spent "in the classroom", covering the physics behind flake removal. McPherson has gone to great time and effort to demonstrate with models that explain the process of flake removal. From a visual perspective picture is worth a thousand words. He clearly illustrates how all the rules (the very basic core of flintknapping) are derived from only one basic principle of physics. Once the viewer sees how all this is tied together, he/she will advance their flintknapping techniques by light years.
The second hour is spent removing flaks from a core and making a bifacial preform. Flake-by-flake you will see John McPherson unravel the secrets of flintknapping. He included in the video everything he wish he knew many years ago, when he first started flintknapping. 118 minutes.
View: Breaking Rock II: Let's Make an Arrowhead
In the first Breaking Rock video, John McPherson demonstrates how to make a bifacial preform. In this sequel video he takes flintknapping to the next step, teaching you how to make an arrowhead from a bifacial preform. Step-by-step and flake-by-flake, McPherson takes away the mystery of flintknapping as he makes two arrowheads and shows how to overcome various obstacles. McPherson works with abo hammerstones and antlers for most of his work, plus he explains the use of copper tools for the difficult parts. The emphasis is on being able to produce functional arrowheads, not artistic points that are for show only. 60 minutes.
View: Primitive Wilderness Skills, Applied
Join John & Geri McPherson as they apply primitive living skills in the real world under strictly primitive conditions.
Part 1 you will
witness how to create a life from only what nature has to offer, as they make
fire in wet conditions, build a waterproof shelter, make baskets, bows &
arrows, traps, pottery, string, axes, knives, and more.
Part 2 of this DVD illustrates how primitive living with all of your gear, even though "Primitive" and primitive made, is nothing more than a camping trip. Venture out into the Flint Hills of Kansas with John & Geri McPherson as they lead and teach. 115 minutes.