Baja California (or, in earlier times, Lower California) has always been viewed as a mysterious, rugged, and inhospitable place. Early explorers chased extraordinary tales, missionaries attempted to colonize the region and tame it’s inhabitants, and scientists studied the new and strange plants and animals.
In 1905 and 1906 two men employed by the United States Biological Survey journeyed over 2,000 miles on horseback in a reconnaissance effort to make a detailed study of the flora and fauna and their environmental relationships in this unique and relatively unknown place. Biologist Edward William Nelson, accompanied by field assistant and naturalist Edward Alphonso Goldman, was placed in charge of this expedition. In order to cover the country as thoroughly as possible, the pair zig-zagged across the Baja Peninsula eight times from coast to coast during their eleven-month trek, additionally traveling by boat to several islands off both the Pacific and Gulf of California coasts.
Countless samples of plants and animals were collected for the Smithsonian Institution and volumes of notes were compiled on the peninsula’s natural history. The Nelson-Goldman expedition culminated in one of the most complete scientific studies of the peninsula of their time.
Three of the four frontrunners of The Devil’s Road are direct descendents of Edward Alphonso Goldman. Todd Bruce, the producer, is Goldman’s maternal great-grand nephew (and coincidentally also the paternal great-nephew of well-known Stanford University botony professor Dr. Ira Wiggins). Bruce, accompanied by his son and daughter--together possessing a combined 75 years of experience exploring the Baja Peninsula--have teamed up with naturalist and professor of biology Greg Meyer to retrace the route Nelson and Goldman traveled over a century before.
Documenting their experience in The Devil’s Road, their feature-length documentary, they plan to give viewers insight into this strange and beautiful place, inspire conservation of it’s incredibly unique and rapidly diminishing environment and wildlife, and provide an intimate exploration through the heart of Baja and its natural history.