Brighty of the Grand Canyon

Brighty of the Grand Canyon is a 1953 children's novel by Marguerite Henry and a 1966 film of the same name based on the novel. They present a fictionalized account of a real-life burro named "Brighty", who lived in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River from about 1892 to 1922.[2]

Brighty of the Grand Canyon
First edition
AuthorMarguerite Henry
IllustratorWesley Dennis
CountryUnited States
PublisherRand McNally (1953)
Aladdin (1991)
Publication date
November 1953[1]
ISBN978-0-689-71485-6 (second printing)
Brighty of the Grand Canyon
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNorman Foster
Screenplay byNorman Foster
Based onBrighty of the Grand Canyon
by Marguerite Henry
Produced byStephen F. Booth for Stephen F. Booth Productions
StarringJoseph Cotten
Pat Conway
Dick Foran
Karl Swenson
Dandy Curran
CinematographyTed Saizis
Vincent Saizis
Edited byJoseph Dervin
Music byPhyllis Lavsky
Richard Lavsky
Distributed byFeature Film Corporation of America
Release date
  • July 1967 (1967-07)
Running time
89 minutes

Book and filmEdit

Henry penned her novel after she read an article about Brighty in Sunset Magazine. It won the 1956 William Allen White Children's Book Award.

Thomas McKee, the former manager of Wiley's Camp on the North Rim of the Canyon, read Henry's novel and wrote to express his interest in the book. McKee told Henry that his son, Bob, was Brighty's closest companion. He sent Henry a photograph of young Bob McKee sitting on Brighty's back. Bob became the composite character Homer Hobbs,[citation needed] played in the film by Dandy Curran.[3]

The other film characters include Old Timer, a prospector played by Dick Foran, and Uncle Jim Owen, a man of the Old West played by Joseph Cotten. Pat Conway appears as Jake Irons,[3] who murders Old Timer for his copper ore. Uncle Jim then proceeds to help bring Irons to justice.[citation needed] Theodore Roosevelt was played by Karl Swenson.[3] Parts of the film were shot at the Colorado River in Utah and the Grand Canyon in Arizona.[4]

Brighty's monumentEdit

Bronze statue of Brighty of the Grand Canyon, found in the Lodge.

Brighty is honored with a bronze statue in the lobby of Grand Canyon Lodge,[5] a National Historic Landmark,[6] located near Arizona State Route 67 approximately 43 miles south of the junction with U.S. Route 89 alternate route. The sculpture is by artist Peter Jepsen.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Independent Burro; BRIGHTY OF THE GRAND CANYON. By Marguerite Henry. Illustrated by Wesley Dennis. 222 pp. Chicago: Rand McNally & Co. $2.95". New York Times. 1953-11-15. p. BRA34.
  2. ^ Henry, Marguerite (1953). Brighty: Of the Grand Canyon. ISBN 0689714858.
  3. ^ a b c "Brighty of the Grand Canyon". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
  4. ^ D'Arc, James V. (2010). When Hollywood came to town: a history of moviemaking in Utah (1st ed.). Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith. ISBN 9781423605874.
  5. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  6. ^ "Grand Canyon Lodge". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2009-08-02. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
  7. ^ Lago, Don (2014). Canyon of dreams : stories from Grand Canyon history. University of Utah Press. pp. 174f. ISBN 9781607813156.