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Queer creatures of cactus county

Identifier: Film Collection no. 241

Scope and Contents

Filmed during the Finley Expedition to Arizona, 1925. This film was taken during the 1925 Finley Expedition to Arizona. Views of the desert and its flora open this film: creosote bushes; low mesquites; cholla or barrel cactus; and many saguaro are shown. A cross-section of a cholla cactus reveals a supply of liquid, a valuable commodity in this environment. Footage taken by Finley of a jackrabbit and a kangaroo rat follows. In order to be less conspicuous, Finley uses a cactus "blind," from which he is able to film a roadrunner collecting lizards. This food is taken to the roadrunner's young, who are in a nest situated on a cactus. From his blind Finley also films a gila woodpecker at the entrance to its nest cavity in a saguaro. In the next sequence, Finley climbs a ladder, which is leaning against a giant saguaro, to record an elf owl, great horned owls with young, and a red-tailed hawk. The film closes with Finley acting out the scenario of the "cameraman's nightmare." He falls asleep at the base of a cactus. Under the curious gaze of two donkeys, the cactus (a man in costume) awakens the unsuspecting cameraman with a kick, and chases him around the desert.


  • 1925

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Not available through interlibrary loan. Contact AMNH Library Special Collections for terms of access.


1 Film Reel (14 minutes) : silent, black and white ; 16 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (14 minutes)) : silent, black and white ; 3/4 in.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

3/4 in., U-Matic, viewing copy


Original format: 16 mm. print.



William Finley, photographer; Arthur Pack (for the American Nature Association), producer.

Queer creatures of cactus county, 1925
Iris Lee
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024 USA
(212) 769-5420