Kispiox rancher Milt Swanson a covered wagon on the set of CBC's 'Strange Empire'.

Kispiox rancher rides into ‘Strange Empire’

Milt Swanson from Kispiox is handling the horses and making an appearance in CBC's new drama 'Strange Empire' premiering Monday, Oct. 6.

It is an understatement to say horses play a large role in Western productions. A Kispiox rancher and farmer rode into town to take control of the horses and appear himself in CBC’s new drama Strange Empire, premiering Monday at 9 p.m.

Milt Swanson took the reigns after being called up by Virtue Studios. He brought down his horses and has been working in the Langley area since June to produce the first season.

“I supply teams of horses, riding horses, harnesses and saddles, and wagons,” explained Swanson.

It was a short production window to shoot the show that relies greatly on the B.C. rural landscape to recreate the 1869 Alberta-Montana border area. Call time was 7 a.m. for shooting, which meant very long days for Swanson and his team.

“For us to have the horses fed and then loaded, and then drive to the set, and then unload them and put harnesses, we’ve got to be like three hours earlier to get ready for that set. So we’re starting at like four o’clock in the morning, and it’s a 12 hour day so we’re done just off the set at eight,” said Swanson.

“Then you’ve got to do that over, so we’re talking like a midnight thing… Some days are even longer and you get maybe three hours of sleep,” said Swanson.

The former B.C. fiddle champion said he also gets some face time in front of the camera, playing in a pivotal early scene that sets the stage for the women heroes to star. Swanson was a stage coach driver, and is likely to appear riding down the dusty town road in future episodes.

The Kispiox man got into show business to make some extra money to support his farming life, but he has become enamoured with how Strange Empire was produced so efficiently. He added that he will definitely be watching the show.

“It’s so amazing when you’re actually standing right beside those scenes, literally ten feet away when they’re shooting,” said Swanson.

He hopes people tune in so the Canadian production is a success and gives more jobs to Canadian actors and production crews.

“It’s helping out the B.C. economy and guys like myself. There’s lot of people involved in it,” said Swanson.

Strange Empire focuses on the plights of a group of women in the Alberta-Montana border country of 1869. A gritty drama based in the town of Janestown, it hits on the era’s issues of race, gender, morality, and the basic struggle for survival.

 

Just Posted

RCMP searching for missing Lax Kw’alaams resident

Public urged to help in search for 42-year-old Lawrence Maitland

July 17 discussion on opiod crisis in Houston a chance to start conversation

The HHRC was started last year by Northern Health to find local solutions to the overdose crisis.

COLUMN: To web poll, or not to web poll

Although not scientific, web opinion polls have their place Thom argues

CN train derailment cleared between Terrace and Prince Rupert

The CN mainline is now open, following a train derailment mid-way between… Continue reading

President and CEO leaving Coast Mountain College

Burt will say goodbye to CMNT come September

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Surrey court clerk files human rights complaint related to concussion

Deborah A. Ryane claims her employer discriminated against her on basis of mental disability

Coast Tsimshian sign historic stewardship agreement

Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla plan to work as one to preserve traditional lands

Food fight: Liberals, Tories trade shots as pre-campaign battles intensify

Health Canada released an overhauled document that did away with traditional food groups and portion sizes

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

Most Read