In 2013, museological historians discovered field recordings and notebooks in the basement of the Banff Park Museum. The materials belonged to the museum's former director Norman Bethune Sanson and revealed aspects of his life as a young man. After carefully reviewing the materials, it seemed these were autobiographical instructions, intended to be used to create short films about the guarded Sanson, whom the public knew very little about.

These materials, labelled The Axe and the Snow, were never released or published in any fashion, and Sanson died in 1949. The notebooks and recordings meanwhile, were dated the year 1926 and marked by the names Sanson and Smith - the former perhaps in reference to documentary photographer and filmmaker Harlan Ingersoll Smith.

The following film attempts to faithfully retrace Sanson and Smith's intentions.

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