In 1914, two men began a perilous 700-mile walk across the
barren ice fields of the Arctic Ocean from Alaska to Siberia on a
near-impossible rescue mission- to save the stranded crew and passengers of the
ship Karluk, which had been crushed and sunk by ice. One of those making this
trek was legendary captain Robert Abram Bartlett who, four years earlier, had
navigated Robert Peary’s expedition to reach the North Pole.
The Karluk’s sinking and its aftermath proved to be the most
notable of Bartlett’s 50 voyages to the far north, a career made possible by
the Inuit who imparted vital survival skills and navigational assistance.
Bartlett was a celebrity whose achievements even included
appearing on a Wheaties cereal box. But he was an enigmatic hero, a loner who
only truly found peace in the frozen limits of the Arctic.
Based on archival research in three countries, Unchained Man
explores the truth behind the myth of Robert Bartlett, while honouring the life
of a central figure in international polar exploration and Arctic history.