The Kern River Valley Historical Society has been in operation for over 40 years. Our mission is to preserve and communicate the rich and colorful history of this region. To achieve these goals we have established the Kern Valley Museum in downtown Kernville next to the Post Office.
Home Museum Exhibits
We Have a Unique Rifle

It’s an Old Beat-Up Military Rifle.  We have some items at the Museum that seem to never get noticed...

until we learn more about them. One such item is an old 30-40 Krag Rifle in a display case in the Movie Room. So why is this particular old rusty rifle interesting? It was in the movie, The Real Glory, 1938, staring Gary Cooper and David Niven. This movie was supposed to take place in the Philippines but, in reality, much of it took place right here on the Kern River and the Kern River Valley. There is a scene in the movie that shows the good guys (Filipino soldiers) going down the Kern River on big wooden rafts to save the villagers from an evil cult-like tribe that is trying to enslave them.

One of those rafts hit a partially submerged rock and flipped over spilling out the soldiers into the Kern River along with their rifles they were carrying. One of our local guys, who had the job of helping to carry the rafts up river so that they could go down river in front of the cameras, remembered where the raft flipped over. His name was Bill Burlando.

He and a friend, later after the filming was over and the filming company went home, and the river was lower, went to the crash site and retrieved the rifle. Now you know why the rifle is rusty and beat-up.

Bill Burlando’s entire account of the filming and retrieving is next to the old Krag Rifle in the showcase. Stop by and take a new look. That old beat up rifle has an interesting story to tell. 


---Ron Anderson