When Dr. Mary Percy left civilized England for the wilds of northern Alberta in 1929, the clock seemed to turn back a century. Battle River Prairie had no roads, no electricity, no telegraph, no services. But blackflies were plentiful, and so was snow. Dr. Percy became the first and only doctor in Canada's last homesteading area. In winter, her eyelashes froze to her glasses. In summer, she sometimes had to be fished out of rivers when her horse lost its footing. English sidewalks were only a genteel memory. Mary Percy planned to spend only a year in Alberta--until romance, in the form of Frank Jackson, came striding through her examining room. Sixty-five years later, she is still there. Articulate, witty and outspoken at 90 years of age, the doctor is a gifted storyteller, recalling harrowing experiences as a practitioner of frontier medicine. With the nearest hospital days away, she often had to improvise--sometimes operating on her kitchen table. As a pioneer and community builder living "off the map," Dr. Mary Percy Jackson brings history to life. The film evokes the essence of the rugged times she has lived through. "People these days would call it a challenge," she says. "I thought it was hilarious."
Wanted! Doctor on Horseback, Claire Helman, provided by the National Film Board of Canada