Killers of the Flower Moon and Pendleton

A painful story comes to the screen

Killers of the Flower Moon, courtesy Apple

“Killers of the Flower Moon” is a film directed and produced by Martin Scorsese, set for theatrical release in October of 2023, followed by streaming on Apple TV. The film is based on the 2017 book of the same title by David Grann about a series of murders committed in the 1920s, after oil was found on tribal land belonging to the Osage Nation. Stars are Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, and Tantoo Cardinal, among others. The film was shot on location in Oklahoma.

Scorsese worked closely with representatives of the Osage Nation to properly represent the community, with Osage Nation chief Geoffrey Standing Bear serving as a consultant. In Mr. Bear’s words, “The dignity and care for the Osage perspective was genuine and honest throughout the process and the Osage responded with the kind of passion and enthusiasm that met this historic moment. For those of us who were watching from the sidelines while our best and brightest among us auditioned, sewed, catered, painted, acted and advised the filmmakers, it’s going to be hard not to feel our presence in helping to tell this painful, violent story to an international audience.” Input from the Nation had a profound effect on the movie’s plot and focus.

The conversation begins

As part of the production company’s commitment to authenticity, the costume team carefully researched the clothing worn by Osage people in the 1920s. Through antique photos, the costumers came to understand the role of the blanket robe; a wool blanket worn as part of traditional attire. Known as Trade blankets for their role in early trading post transactions, these blankets remain important to Native communities across the USA. In its century-plus of weaving, Pendleton has produced many thousands of the serape-style robes popular in the Osage Nation.

Three Pendleton Archival Serapes, folded on a table

The story of Pendleton’s involvement with the “Killers of the Flower Moon” production began in August of 2019, when Pendleton fielded a call from Christopher Peterson from the KotFM costume department. This began a series of off-and-on talks that continued through January of 2020, when discussion paused due to COVID-19. In January of 2021, the conversation resumed with Kristi Hoffman, Assistant Costume Designer to Jacqueline West. She supplied a series of vintage images to Pendleton’s Home team for inspiration. After much discussion and brainstorming, it was decided that the production would require both vintage and reproduction blankets.

For the vintage blankets, Pendleton put Ms. Hoffman in touch with Barry Friedman. Mr. Friedman is a leading expert on the history and provenance of vintage Trade blankets. As a collector and author, he has published two books on blankets and the mills that produced them, titled Chasing Rainbows and More Chasing Rainbows. Mr. Friedman supplied approximately sixty vintage blankets to the production. Twenty of those were vintage Pendletons, including the one worn by Lily Gladstone in this photo from the film.

Photo courtesy Apple TV of Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio

The reproduction blankets were drawn from designs in the Pendleton archives, and woven in the same mill as the original blankets that inspired the costumers. Working together, the teams narrowed the options to three specific stripes. Pendleton designers then created two colorways for each, for a total of six patterns.

Seventy-five blankets were shipped to the filming location in April, 2021. In Fall of 2022, Pendleton began offering three of the six stripes as part of the Home line. The stripes are named for Oklahoma towns that were part of filming.

Flat shots of the three Pendleton Archival Serapes used in Killers of the Flower Moon

Additionally, 700 in-line serapes and saddle blankets with custom labels (shown) were presented as gifts to the cast and crew, a fitting wrap gift for the production.

Label used on wrap gits for the KorFM production.

“Killers of the Flower Moon” shines a bright light on a dark period in American history. Pendleton Woolen Mills was honored to work with the production team and the Osage Nation on this important film.

Learn more:

The movie: Killers of the Flower Moon

Barry Friedman: see his book here Still Chasing Rainbows

The blankets: Pendleton Archival Serapes

Blue "Born in Oregon" logo

Pendleton Mill Tribute Series: J. Capps and Sons – 1892 to 1917

Pendleton tribute series - Capps label.

Tribute to J. Capps

The last mill in our series of blankets paying tribute to the Golden Age of the Trade blanket is the J. Capps and Sons Woolen Mill of Jacksonville, Illinois.

Our friend Barry Friedman, the foremost historian and venerable scholar of Trade blankets, has concluded that the very first blankets manufactured for the Native trade were manufactured by J. Capps and Sons in 1892. Barry has come to this conclusion through painstaking research that only a truly obsessed person would perform, so we trust his findings.

j-cappsmill1865The J. Capps & Sons Woolen Mill in 1865

J Capps History

Joseph Capps arrived in Jacksonville, Illinois in 1839, only 21 years after Illinois became a state. He opened a wool-carding business, to which he would add spinning machines, looms and other weaving machines to become a fully operational weaving mill. As his business grew, so did his family; sons Stephen, William and Joseph would become partners in the firm, and carried on the business after Joseph’s death in 1872.

The Capps & Sons mill produced plain bed blankets, men’s suitings and other woolen goods throughout its years of operation. They also produced blanket overcoats.

Vintage advertising for J Capps and Sons mill.

Production of the Trade blanket ceased in 1917, when the mill’s production was diverted to the needs of WWI.

The first sales records of trade blankets appears in Capps’ business records in 1892. In 1893, the blankets are first mentioned in their marketing materials. The company apparently operated under three names: J. Capps & Sons, Ltd., the Jacksonville Woolen Mills, the American Indian Blanket Mills. To be clear, at no time were Native Americans involved in the design or weaving of these blankets. The patterns were mostly designed by Portuguese weavers who worked at the mill.

j capps cardboard label, illustrated with a Native American.

The Tribute Series

For our Mill Tribute series, we reproduced seven J. Capps & Sons, Ltd. designs. Capps designs remain much the same through their decades of production, and they produced surprisingly few patterns over that time. The designs make little use of the curvilinear abilities of the jacquard loom, keeping to “straight-line” patterns. To quote Barry: “With no other company that produced…blankets over so long a time do we see the continuity of design and pattern…A Capps blanket from 1915 looks very much like a Capps blanket from the 1890s.”

And again, we wish to make it clear that while Native Americans were enthusiastic customers for these elegant blankets, they were not involved in the design or manufacture of these patterns. The Capps names are listed for reference only.

Capps 1 – retired

We chose a rarity for our very first Capps tribute blanket. It is unnamed and uncatalogued in the Capps literature, but was sold in at least three color combinations. The original of this bold and beautiful version was produced circa 1910.

Pendleton Capps Tribute Series number one.

Capps 2 – retired

Capps referred to this as the “Cheyenne Basket pattern, a Riot of Color.” You can see it over the arm of the woman in the ad above.

Pendleton Capps Tribute Series number two

Capps 3 – retired

Capps called this the “Shoshone” pattern, and the orginal version is a favorite among collectors.

Pendleton Capps Tribute Series number three

Capps 4 – retired

This bright design was called “A Typical Moqui” by Capps.

Pendleton Capps Tribute Series number four

Capps 5 – retired

An exciting pattern done in traditional colors, this was a consumer favorite in our Mill Tribute series. In the Capps catalog, it is called the “Kiowa Rattlesnake” pattern.

Pendleton Capps Tribute Series number five

Capps 6available here

Another rarity provided this pattern, called “Navajo” in the Capps literature.

Pendleton Capps Tribute Series number six

Capps 7 – Available here

For our final Capps tribute, we chose the pattern they called “Papago.” The original Capps version is a favorite among collectors of vintage trade blankets for its graphic boldness and overall symmetry.

Pendleton Capps Tribute Series number seven

Learn More

Our thanks to Barry Friedman for his research and writing. You can learn so much more about the Trade Blanket from Barry’s books:

Chasing Rainbows

Still Chasing Rainbows

tribute labels in a stack