Cram’s Superior Map of Colorado – 1915

by George F. Cram



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3:34-3:36; 3:44-4:11; 6:39-6:52; 47:55-48:08; 48:16-48:19; 48:23-48:30; 48:43-48:47; 48:54-48:57; 49:02-49:17; 94:30-94:56

Appears three times: beside Jack, Ullman and Watson throughout the interview, behind Wendy on her mayday day, and before Jack when he comes to murder the radio.


Cram was a unionist soldier during the American Civil War, and whose firm published the first American world atlas (in 1883, it seems). So it hanging across from the first ever world atlas, is probably one more link in the colonialism subtext. It doesn’t really serve a practical purpose, with regard to the CB radio; it’s more an indication that Ullman really likes maps.


What follows here is a reproduction of the Meeker Massacre section of the Here Comes the Sunken Place analysis, in case you’ve read that already.

Now, I’m not entirely certain this was intentional, but check this out. The three times that Ullman’s map of Colorado appears in the (impossible) daylight, two regions appear to have a ghostly, glowing outline. I suppose it’s possible this is some trick of the light, but you’ll easily note that none of the other regions subjected to the same light have borders reacting likewise.

As you can see on this map of Colorado, these areas are Routt and Pitkin, both named for former governors. John Long Routt‘s major contributions to the state seems to be cracking away at the state constitution and women’s suffrage. Frederick Walker Pitkin, who immediately followed Routt, was known for dealing with railway feuds, and for ordering the suppression and relocation of Ute peoples following the Meeker massacre.

What that was, was a group of Utes massacred Nathan Meeker, an agent assigned to officially deal with the Colorado Utes (a utopian who was trying to convert them to Christianity while simultaneously trying to disabuse them of how they used their land), along with ten of his male workers. This ended up coinciding with an ambush on some nearby military men, called in by Meeker to help. These forces lost 14 men, and the Utes escaped with many hostages. This became known as the Meeker massacre and the Milk Creek Canyon disaster.

Chief Ouray, of the Uncompahgre Ute, was the one who negotiated for the release of the women and children hostages. I mention him because there became an area of Colorado known as Ouray which is mentioned by name in the film. “And the search continues in the mountains near Ouray today for that missing Aspen woman,” says the reporter on TV, “24-year-old Susan Robertson has been missing 10 days.” I have a few ideas on the name Susan Robertson, but in this context it brings to mind the Roberts brand milk in the red carton behind Wendy, which we first saw while Wendy was washing up in Boulder. Does Milk = Milk Creek?

The result of the Meeker massacre would not seem to match the crime, however. Governor Frederick Pitkin ran on a campaign of, according to Wikipedia, “The Utes Must Go!” which sadly resonated with the Coloradans of the day enough to elect him. Pitkin made “exaggerated claims against the Ute” for the purpose of turning public favour against them, in order to gain control of Ute territories. The Milk Creek and Meeker massacres, along with the lengthy hostage taking, was enough to achieve this end, it seems. The resulting Ute Removal Act “denied the Ute 12 million acres [emphasis mine] of land that had formerly been guaranteed to them in perpetuity.” What’s more, the Ute’s name for these areas was formerly “The Shining Mountains“. And of course it’s right at this kitchen table that Hallorann introduced Danny to the word “shining” to describe their “very great talent”.

So Wendy’s obliviousness to herstory (and her general life situation) might be being underscored here. After all, while she sits with her back to the ghostly outlines of Routt and Pitkin, she wears a jacket covered in tipis, and shoes that resemble moccasin slippers. Perhaps these two men simply express how quickly something can go from good to bad, from benign to malevolent. Pitkin, the map area, only highlights in the below scene (of the four scenes featuring the map), which is Wendy’s first scene after Jack’s first outburst in the Colorado lounge.

Strangely enough, one of the chiefs behind the Milk Creek ambush was Nicaagat (Ute: “leaves becoming green”), known to colonists as Chief Jack.

One last thing: the name Routt comes from the Old English root “rud-” which means “ruddy”. The name Routt was meant to describe someone with a reddish complexion, or it could mean someone who often wears red (the last time Jack stands before this map he will have assumed his final, ruddy form; see below). Pitkin, sadly, does not mean “rum”, but “along”.


First appears from 3:34-3:36 and 3:44-4:12 (a 38-second span) as Jack comes to meet Ullman. This mirrors over Wendy and Danny running for the snowcat, them reuniting, Jack stumbling around lost in the maze, and Danny’s final escape from the maze. So, having the escape of mother and son pair with a giant, accurate, “superior” map is fairly apt.

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6:39-6:52: Despite the map’s seeming omnipresence in that earlier scene, it only gets one largely cropped out appearance during the bulk of the interview. For 13 seconds, while Ullman agrees with Jack’s saying the Overlook “certain has plenty of” seclusion and scenic beauty. Ullman then asks if Jack’s Denver people told him what the job entails, and Jack replies “Only in a very general way.” It mirrors over 5 seconds of the start of the bloodfall, and then 8 seconds of Wendy approaching the bloodfall, which means, as you can see here, that Lawren Harris’s Beaver Swamp mirrors over the southeastern portion for a couple seconds.

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46:34-47:00: As the shot zooms on crazy Jack’s face, his right eye only ever mirrors over three counties: Kit Carson, Lincoln, and Elbert. I’ll get into the significance of that later on. When the shot cuts to the SATURDAY placard and then to an establishing shot of the hotel, a tip of the west wing slashes through the southwestern-most counties: Montezuma, La Plata and Archuleta. That Montezuma bit seems like a nod toward my Tower of Fable theory.

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47:56-48:07: As Wendy enters Ullman’s to try the other radio, mirror Tony is telling Wendy that Danny’s gone away. And we can see that Trapper’s Camp has also gone away.

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48:15-48:19: I don’t have an image for this on the site (I’m trying to save space at this point), but as Wendy introduces herself to the ranger, mirror Wendy is assuring Tony/Danny that he just had a bad dream. Actually, since I don’t have a proper image, let me point out how, when the shot cuts to the ranger in the ranger’s office, there’s a set of maps in that room that always fill mirror Wendy’s head on the other side. Since the rangers’ maps are more zoomed in and fragmented, does that reflect Wendy’s inability to see the whole picture of what’s going on? Contrasting Tony/Danny’s more total concept of the story’s “map”? Remember, one of the postcards floating inside Tony/Danny’s head here is also seen just outside the real maze.

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48:22-48:29: As Wendy reports that the radios don’t seem to be working, mirror Tony/Danny informs Wendy that Danny’s not here.

48:43-48:47: As Wendy comments that “this storm is really somethin’, isn’t it?” Tony/Danny screams REDRUM. You’ll note that the map overlays with the dancing bear painting, and the mysterious snowy pine image above the bed. If I was certain of the artists involved I suspect this would become much more interesting.

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48:54-48:57: As Wendy says there’s nothing else the ranger can do for her, there’s another little moment I don’t have a screenshot for, where the image shares the screen with a mysterious painting of two snowy cabins, which resembles an AY Jackson piece (there’s a county of Colorado called Jackson), and more interesting, there’s a couple seconds after that, where a painting/knitting of some butterflies mirrors over the counties of Kit Carson, Cheyenne, and Kiowa. The last time Wendy was on the phone, the film Carson City was playing behind her, about a town named after Kit Carson. This same effect is achieved, though, in the last shot of this sequence, so I’ll substitute that for here. And this time, the butterfly piece is touching the county of Lincoln. In the novel, Ullman drives a Lincoln Continental, and there’s a strong suggestion that book Ullman wanted Jack to go Grady as much as movie Ullman did. And Grady is heavily associated to butterflies.

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49:02-49:17: As Wendy agrees to leave the radio on all the time, and says goodbye, mirror Wendy is starting to hear REDRUM, and then going back to her escape plot, where she’s saying how if Jack won’t go with them, they’ll just have to tell him they’re going by themselves. This moment includes the screenshot below, where a painting I believe will prove to be by Nicholas de Grandmaion (or his son, Orestes), mirrors over several counties, including Custer. Since I believe the Grandmaison (Big House) painting represents the Overlook’s dark purposes, and since this map’s behaviour in the mirrorform so far has been to connect to notions of escape and the defeat of Jack…could this be a reference to Custer’s Last Stand? The painting is of a lone horse atop a snowy hill, and it’s not clear if it has a rider or not, but if not, then that would potentially be very on point.

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Also, in case you didn’t click that last link, my theory about the two white-and-blue paintings in Suite 3 are symbolic of the Grady twins. And since this one, and Jack’s own right eye are piercing the map at about the same spot on the map, it’s worth pointing out how the other of those paintings makes a ring around Jack’s other eye as he drives to the Overlook. This could implicate these paintings in a growing number of works that speak to the notion of eyes, and specifically the difference between left and right eyes.

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Next art reference: Neil the Frog