(low drum music) (train whirring) (train hooting) - [Mabel] I'd always heard of people going to Florida or California, but no one ever went to the Southwest.
My life broke in two right then, and I entered into the second half more strange and terrible and sweet than any I'd ever been able to imagine.
- [Kathryn] Mabel was born 100 years ahead of her time.
She is suddenly free.
- [Art] Brilliant, aloof.
- [Historian 1] She was so manipulative and so controlling.
- [Kathryn] She's difficult, she's bossy.
- [Flannery] D.H. Lawrence and Mabel died, fought like cats and dogs.
- [Historian 2] She was a mover and shaker.
(gentle music) - [Narrator] As the 20th century dawned, a new movement emerged.
Optimistic radicals came to reject the repressive values of the Victorian era.
The core of this movement was deeply rooted in the arts and creativity.
This modern spirit seized upon Mabel Dodge Luhan, leading her across continents, yet her journey to fulfillment was incomplete until she arrived in a tiny, isolated town in Northern New Mexico.
- [Mabel] I'm not sure I knew from the beginning what I wanted to accomplish.
There was an intention, but it was not thought out in advance.
I had a gnawing feeling that there was something waiting for me in Taos.
(gentle music) - [Narrator] In Taos, she found an awakening.
(gentle music continues) (lively instrumental music) Mabel Ganson was born to Charles and Sarah Ganson.
(gentle music) Mabel's grandfathers had created fortunes in banking.
A lawyer by training, Mabel's father rarely practiced law.
He was also rarely available to his family.
(gentle music) - [Mabel] To him, I was something that made a noise sometimes in the house and had to be told to get out of the way.
(gentle music) Most people have some memories of their earliest years that contain a little warmth and liveliness, but I cannot find one happy hour.
In 1879, Buffalo, New York was a cozy town, at least for those of us who formed the nucleus and lived in the fashionable center of town.
- [Narrator] Mabel was raised to charm others and groomed to marry.
She attended Saint Margaret's Episcopal School for Girls until she was 16.
The class motto was, "They also serve who only stand and wait."
(children chattering) (bell ringing) - [Mabel] How any of us ever survived the Victorian system we were conditioned by, is more than I can understand.
- [Narrator] In a town of a quarter million people, the Gansons lived in a neighborhood that housed 60 millionaires and four United States presidents.
Just a few miles away from the industrial yards and slums of the inner city.
- [Mabel] The whole ghastly social structure must be torn down and exposed so that those who follow us will have the peace and freedom to make a different life.
(instrumental music) - [Narrator] Even at the young age of 18, Mabel was not one to stand and wait.
She had her own plans for her obligatory coming out ball.
(gentle music) - [Mabel] When the time came for my ball, I determined not to have one of the usual kind.
I consulted with the most artistic person I knew and together, we produced the most creative setting it's ever been my doom to adorn.
Once the ball was underway, I refused to dance.
This was my way of saying no to a predictable, predetermined and loveless life.
(instrumental music) - [Narrator] With her friend Karl Evans, Mabel enjoyed the outdoor life, houses, dogs and motorboats.
Her father did not approve as Karl was engaged to another beautiful girl.
- [Mabel] Now, I had no compunction about other people's claims on each other.
This made people feel I was an outlaw of love and they started early to call me a home breaker.
I admit I had no desire to marry Karl, only of keeping him from the other girl.
(percussive music) - [Narrator] Karl had lived in what he called, the Indian territory.
(percussive music) He impressed Mabel with his stories of how they took him in.
(percussive music) (train hooting) (water rushing) One Sunday in 1900, Karl asked Mabel to take the train to Youngstown near Niagara Falls.
(church bell ringing) Upon arrival, she was ushered into a church where a minister waited.
- [Mabel] Only then did I realize what was happening.
I began to tremble and look desperately behind me for an escape.
I thought to myself, "I am being married."
A truly passive experience.
I'd never even thought about marriage before.
All my thoughts had been given to not marrying.
My limited, friendly marriage with Karl was so inarticulate.
I had so little to say to him about my inner life, my thoughts and feelings.
- [Narrator] Karl and Mabel had a son, John.
The following year, Karl died in a hunting accident, leaving Mabel a widowed mother at 23.
Mabel soon discovered that her Victorian upbringing failed to provide any respectable alternative for her outside of motherhood and marriage.
Mabel struggled to find purpose and fulfillment without a husband.
(gentle instrumental music) (boat horn hooting) Under her mother's supervision, Mabel set sail for Paris with her toddler and two nurses.
Onboard ship, Mabel met a young, wealthy architect named Edwin Dodge.
When they arrived in Paris, Dodge passionately pursued her.
(lively instrumental music) - [Mabel] Edwin asked me to marry him and I told him I would.
I don't remember why.
I told him I wasn't in love with him.
Edwin was from a well-known Boston family, however, he told me he was sick with syphilis.
I pretended to be emancipated and not to mind it.
Looking back now, I was fortunate that I was never infected.
I had gone through so much already.
I wanted now a house with a husband in it, a father for John and some kind of peace.
I awakened the first morning of my marriage with a sadness that lay over me.
The burden of love undelivered is the ultimate load.
I was the bird in a gilded cage of my own making.
- [Narrator] Edwin and Mabel settled in Florence in a magnificent de Medici villa where she distracted herself decorating the house with fine art and antiques.
It was not long, however, before she sought an escape.
(lively music) Mabel's visit to Paris in 1911 began a chain of events that would set her on an irreversible journey.
- [Kathryn] Mabel Dodge became good friends with the brother and sister team of Leo and Gertrude Stein.
Leo and Gertrude Stein held the most important salons of their time.
That is where Picasso met Matisse.
Art doesn't look the way it used to look.
Modernism in art history evolves in the late 19th century in Europe to break all the rules in art and in culture.
- [Narrator] It's the opposite of the establishment.
Artists begin to pursue absolute abstraction.
Artists are getting together and developing the ideas now known as modernism and the avant garde.
The salons were a way that upper class intelligent women, who were generally not allowed to go to university, could be educated.
The Stein's apartment was an epicenter of modern spirit and Mabel, like so many others of that time, was inescapably drawn to it.
[Rena] - I've always thought of the arts as being in service of the existential questions.
Who are we?
Why are we here?
Where did we come from?
And I think Mabel's surrounding herself with all kinds of creative people was a way of trying to get at the answer to that.
- [Narrator] The Steins opened Mabel's eyes to new opportunities.
She entered a world where a woman could create new possibilities for herself.
She divorced Edwin.
(gentle music) Greenwich Village called to Mabel to recreate the vitality and promise she'd experienced in Paris.
(gentle music) (car horn hooting) - [Kathryn] It was perfect for Mabel to move back to Greenwich Village in 1913 where everyone who's anyone in the leftist, progressive, communist, feminist world has gathered.
Feminism was extremely important at this time, and of course that's gonna help Mabel change as a person.
- [Narrator] Before the end of her first month, Mabel was involved with the preparation for the groundbreaking Armory Show of 1913.
(bright music) It introduced Americans to modernist art.
- [MaLin] She threw herself into the Armory exhibition immediately.
It not only brought the Cubas, the post-impressionists, the fauvists to everybody from Europe to New York.
What was so great was it showed them with the American artists.
- [Elmo] It wasn't like she flashed onto the modern scene.
She really saw it evolving in Paris through Gertrude Stein.
She knew a lot of the artists and she was definitely at the vanguard of that European modernism coming to the shores of New York City.
- [Mabel] The Armory Show became overnight my own little revolution.
I would upset America, I would with fatal irrevocable disaster to the old order of things, dynamite New York and nothing would stop me.
Well, nothing did.
- [Kathryn] Everyone wanted to know who is this Mabel Dodge person and Gertrude Stein had published a portrait of Mabel Dodge at the Villa Curonia and everyone was reading that.
Mabel became as well known as Gertrude Stein.
(bright music) - [MaLin] This really put Mabel on the map in terms of being right there on the edge of the avant garde.
She opened a weekly salon and this weekly salon brought everybody there.
(bright music) - [Narrator] Mabel salons vibrated with the free spirit and ideals of modern American thinkers.
Mabel attended Stieglitz's modernist exhibits and lectures.
Here she met artist Georgia O'Keeffe, who became Stieglitz's second wife.
- [Georgia] Dear Mabel, I thought you could write something about me that the men can't.
I feel that there is something unexplored about women that only a woman can explore.
Men have done all they can about it.
- [Narrator] Mabel promoted the research of Planned Parenthood and women's rights pioneer Margaret Sanger.
- [Mabel] It was Sanger who introduced to us all the idea of birth control, along with other ideas about women learning to enjoy sex.
- [Narrator] Mabel's Greenwich Village salons became notorious with reviews in the "New York Times" and "The Post".
Journalist Lincoln Steffans told her.
- [Lincoln] Mabel, you have a certain faculty.
You attract, stimulate and soothe people.
You make them think more eloquently and they feel enhanced.
- [Mabel] It seemed to me there were so many people with things to say and so few places to say them in.
There was no place for a free exchange of ideas and talk.
Differences faded as soon as people spoke.
When they met face-to-face and talked, they found that their bad feelings melted away.
They couldn't feel the same anymore.
- [Narrator] Mabel recognized the importance of exploring her inner life with Dr. A.A. Brill.
In a relationship that spanned four decades, Brill encouraged Mabel to seek meaning and purpose in her life through writing.
Mabel's national column for the "Hearst" newspapers became her public soapbox.
- [A.A. Brill] The most important thing is that you are active and writing.
You've always looked them straight in the face and told them to go to hell, and you should continue to do so.
- [Mabel] The publicity I'd been able to gain overnight had apparently started the belief that I had only to be in some way associated with a movement for it to be launched.
- [Narrator] Mabel immersed yourself in anarchist politics and socialized with young rebels, known as the Radical Left.
Journalist John Reed went to the silk mills of Patterson, New Jersey.
There he covered the untold story of murdered strikers.
When he returned, he was excited to start a pageant to provoke public opinion.
- [Mabel] I gave up everything to work on it.
Reed was the executive.
I kept having ideas and he carried them out.
- [Narrator] 15,000 spectators applauded in support of the great Patterson strike pageant at Madison Square Garden.
(boat hooting) - [Mabel] After the pageant, John Reed and I sailed for Europe.
In Paris, that first night, I learned what a honeymoon should be.
As soon as I gave myself up to Reed, I was all for love and everything else was lost.
(gentle music) - [Rena] To some degree, she was very malleable when it came to the men in her life that she wanted to be what they wanted her to be, instead of always being Mabel.
- [Mabel] When I was living with Reed at home, my power seemed to leave me.
The substitute for love called power thrilled me more than he.
- [Narrator] One morning there was a note from Reed.
- [John] Goodbye my darling.
I cannot live with you.
You smother me, you crush me, you want to kill my spirit.
I'm going away.
- [Mabel] I called a friend on the phone to tell him about it.
I cried, "Isn't it childish?"
I'm tired of being a mother to men.
(plane engine roaring) (guns firing) - [Narrator] World War I stirred a conservative backlash.
The arrest and deportation to Russia of her friend Emma Goldman caused Mabel to reevaluate her life.
Meeting Russian post-impressionist artist, Maurice Sterne led Mabel in unexpected directions.
- [Mabel] I wasn't certain how I felt about Maurice.
My relationship with him was tumultuous at best.
- [Narrator] Maurice Sterne became Mabel's third husband.
It seemed to Mabel that she only loved Maurice with ease when they were separated.
(lively music) For their honeymoon, Mabel sent him alone to Santa Fe to paint Indians.
(lively music) Maurice wrote enthusiastic letters about New Mexico and encouraged Mabel to join him.
- [Maurice] Dearest girl.
Do you want an object in life?
The Indians, their art and culture reveal it to the world.
You could help the American people realize that there are other forms of civilization besides ours.
(thunder crashing) - [Mabel] Once, I awakened in the middle of the night.
I lay staring into the darkness and before my eyes, I saw a large image of Maurice's head.
As I gazed, his face began to fade and another face replaced it.
A dark face with wide apart eyes that stared at me, a strong look, intense and calm.
This was an Indian face and it affected me like medicine.
(gentle traditional music) I'd always heard of people going to Florida or California, but no one ever went to the Southwest.
Hardly anyone had ever even heard of Santa Fe.
"Well, I won a vacation," I said to myself, "I feel like a change."
(train whirring) (train hooting) I got it.
My life broke in two right then and I entered into the second half, a new world that replaced all the ways I'd known with others.
More strange and terrible and sweet than any I'd ever been able to imagine.
(wind rustling) - [Elmo] There was still a Shangri-La out there.
There was still a spiritual place.
There was still an undiscovered place where people could go and live their lives in freedom and be inspired by spiritual power.
(gentle music) She comes literally at the time when the Pueblo Revival is being invented, the so-called Santa Fe style.
(lively music) - [Mabel] Santa Fe was the strangest American town I'd ever seen.
In that bright December sunshine, the plaza was a queer mixture of oddities.
There were wood carts drawn by burrows with short links of pinon wood led by dark-skinned Nuevo Mexicanos.
I had a gnawing feeling that there was something waiting for me in Taos.
Maurice did not want to go.
(engine revving) - [Narrator] It took 17 hours to drive the 75 mile trip from Santa Fe to Taos.
Where the Rio Grande cuts through the mountains, the thrilling part begins.
(engine revving) Travelers followed a treacherous route over mountain trails that a goat must have planned.
(engine revving) (gentle music) At the top of the little canyon, they stood breathless, in awe at the scene that stretched before them.
(gentle music) - [Mabel] It was intensely silent out there without the stirring of anything.
And yet, I seem to hear inside the silence, a high continuous humming, like a song, and it made me happy.
- [Elmo] I think when Mabel came out and saw that it hadn't really been trampled by American civilization, it was like, "A-ha, I found it."
(gentle music) - [Narrator] Taos fit Mabel perfectly.
There was something wonderful and satisfying here.
Isolated, uncomplicated, beautiful.
Taos was different from any place Mabel had ever experienced.
(lively music) (horses neighing) Its culture, a unique mix of Anglo American ranchers, descendants of Spanish colonists from the 1600s and the American Indians from Taos Pueblo.
(horse grunting) Although centuries old, Taos was a new world for Mabel.
A world she had been seeking all of her life.
The morning Mabel arrived, she leased the largest house in Taos for six months.
Maurice was livid.
He wanted to go back east.
Mabel always seemed to turn up in the right place at the right time.
1918 marked the peak of success for the Taos Society of Artists.
They sought to celebrate and sell the unique cultures and landscapes in their romantic visions, but there was something deeper here for the artist.
Mabel changed the direction of Taos painting with a single telegram.
Sent to modernist painter Andrew Dasburg, a regular at Mabel's New York salons, it read.
- [Mabel] Taos is a wonderful place.
You've got to come.
I'm sending you tickets and bring me a cook.
- [Rena] Dasburg had met Matisse.
He had met Picasso.
He was totally familiar with and comfortable with 20th Century thought about painting.
- [MaLin] The most important thing that Mabel brought to New Mexico was a modern attitude.
What modernism means is things change.
Things are renewed.
(gentle music) - [Narrator] Soon after Mabel Dodge arrived in Taos, she visited Taos Pueblo where the Tiwa people, the Red Willow people, had been living for at least 1300 years.
According to their oral history, thousands of years.
(gentle music) - [MaLin] She hears drumming and a man's voice singing, and she's invited into the residence where she hears this music coming from.
(gentle percussive music) The man drumming and singing has his back to her, so she didn't see who it was, but she settled down and really enjoyed the music.
And then the man turns around and it's the same man she saw in her dream.
It was Tony Lujan.
- [Mabel] As I stood there facing Tony, it was only an instant in time.
I was by grace born in that flash as I should have been years ago, into the new world.
(percussive music) - [Frank] Tony Lujan was massively built with a face dark as mahogany.
His black hair hung almost to his waist and he braided it into two pigtails entwined with ribbons of two colors.
Tony spoke his native Tiwa, fluent Spanish and fairly good English, but couldn't read.
- [Mabel] There have been several people who heightened my awareness of life.
Tony Lujan was one of those influences.
He had the sun in his heart.
The essence of his mode of being was kindness.
(gentle traditional music) - [Narrator] Mabel soon recreated her salons in Taos.
For the first, she invited her Anglo neighbors and Tony and his Pueblo friends to dance and play drums.
This had not been done before.
(percussive music) - [Mabel] To the beat of the drum, they danced.
They raised themselves up and their silver bells rang.
Tony asked everyone to get up and dance.
(lively percussive music) - [Narrator] The Anglo guests were frozen in their seats.
Mabel broke the silence.
- [Mabel] I can do what I like.
I'm free now.
So we all danced until we were aching.
(lively percussive music) (water rustling) - [Flannery] I think that Mabel Dodge always thought the answers to modern anxieties was a place, and I think she was looking for that place for a long time.
When she came to New Mexico, she saw a people that were unlike any people she had ever encountered before when she met Taos Pueblo Indians.
She thought that they understood the natural world better.
She thought they understood communal arrangements better.
She thought they were a more equitable society.
She thought that if she could just bring that world to the nation as a whole, to the entire globe, then the world would be a better place.
- [Mabel] When Maurice left Taos, I found I had a tender soft, sorry, feeling about him.
- [Narrator] Maurice returned east and they divorced.
Tony, who was still married to his Pueblo wife, Candelaria, found a plot of land for Mabel with a small house on several acres.
(gentle music) - [Mabel] When Tony would take me out on long walks and when I would see him in the Pueblo, it was as though the landscape and Tony became one.
The landscape was part of our love.
(gentle music) Tony began to stay less at the Pueblo and more at my new home on the rising land where the deserts swept up to the hills.
Once I purchased that piece of land, I began to live in a way that was new to me.
(gentle music) - [Narrator] Mabel and Tony constructed a compound known as Los Gallos.
(people chattering distantly) A massive adobe villa with over 12 rooms and outlying casitas used as studios and guest houses.
(gentle music) (singing in foreign language) - [Mabel] To take the living earth from under our feet and shape it into a house is transforming.
(man singing in foreign language) - [Mabel] Tony seemed to live so completely in the here and now.
I learned not to question him about what the future held.
If one lived wholly at present, the future could truly be left to itself.
Here in Taos, I was awake to a new experience of sex and love, more mature and civilized than any I'd known before.
The feeling made me wide awake in the moment.
(bell ringing) (birds squawking) - [Narrator] They set up their home as a refuge and retreat for creative renewal.
(insects chirping) (birds chirping) A communal environment where constantly changing guests could be transformed.
From writers to painters to choreographers, Mabel wasted no time in calling great creative souls to Taos.
Over the decades, she helped build the colony of artists in Taos with many who championed the modern aesthetic.
(gentle piano music) - [Elmo] If you got a letter from Mabel Dodge Luhan to come to Taos, you started to think, "Wow, that's not a bad deal.
I get free room and board.
I get to hang out with other artists."
By the late 20s, I think people knew about Taos and they knew that Mabel Dodge had built a great compound for artists.
She actively recruited D.H. Lawrence to come to Taos.
(gentle music) - [Narrator] D.H. Lawrence would prove to be a formidable obsession for Mabel.
The son of an English coal miner, writer D.H. Lawrence railed against the dehumanizing effects of industrialization on modern life.
Lawrence's books were banned.
His outspoken opinions earned him many enemies.
- [Mabel] It was after reading the "Sea and Sardinia" that I wrote to D.H. Lawrence to come to Taos.
In it, he gives the feel, touch, smell of places so that one can step right into them.
I thought, here is the only one who can really see this Taos country of mine and the Indians.
Who else can describe it as much alive between the covers of a book as it is in reality?
- [D.H. Lawrence] Dear Mabel.
I've heard of Taos.
I believe what you say.
We must somehow bring together the two ends of humanity.
Is Taos the place?
- [Mabel] When he and Frieda finally came to Taos, Lawrence asked me if I would work on a book with him.
He wanted to write it around me, my life, from the time I left New York to the bright strange world of Taos.
Of course it was for this I had called him across oceans.
- [D.H. Lawrence] I think New Mexico was the greatest experience from the outside world that I ever had.
It certainly changed me forever.
To the Indian, creation was a great flood, forever flowing in lovely and terrible waves.
And everything is the shimmer of creation and never the finality of the created.
- [Flannery] She also, I suspect, liked the controversy about him, the fact that his work was considered too sexually explicit.
I'm sure that drew her to him.
You would think that it was a match made in heaven.
Instead, they fought like cats and dogs almost from the moment they encountered one another.
- [Mabel] At the slightest touch of adverse criticism or hostility, Lawrence became violent.
I've never seen its equal.
- [Art] Probably the best thing that if ever happened to Mabel was when Frieda came in with her broom while Mabel and Lawrence were writing, and she kept sweeping around the table and just disturbing them mightily so they couldn't get any work done, and they finally gave up.
Eventually, Lawrence and her psychoanalyst Brill encouraged her to write her own books.
- [Narrator] When Lawrence left, Mabel was devastated.
She had given so much to them, including their own ranch.
- [Mabel] What had Lawrence done but pushed me to the wall?
He was attempting to annihilate the strong creature whose will was so evil in his eyes, that dominating American woman.
That was possibly the instant that I recognized the truth, that there is nothing except what one creates for oneself.
I just wanna write.
When I write, I am alive.
When I don't, I'm nothing.
(gentle music) - [A.A. Brill] My dear Mabel.
it is only natural that you should now have a letdown after all the excitement that you have had.
If I were you, I would pull myself together and get to work.
You take things too seriously.
You cannot control the world, but you still would like to.
- [Mabel] I realized that I must write or die.
If I wanted stability, I must create it and anything else I needed.
- [Narrator] In writing her memoirs, Mabel's approach would be brutally honest, to admit her shortcomings and faults, to become transparent so that she could overcome her internal limitations.
(distant birds squawking) - [Mabel] Dear Brill.
I wrote a pretty good book about D.H. Lawrence called, "Lorenzo in Taos", but Frieda is such a fool.
She won't let me publish his letters in the book.
- [A.A. Brill] It is too bad that all the interesting things that you are writing cannot be published.
I hope that some way will be found whereby they can come to light before you are dead, because at that time, I shall be dead too and look what I'll have missed.
- [Narrator] The political skills that Mabel had learned from social activists in Greenwich Village now helped her protect the people she'd come to love.
In 1906, under President Teddy Roosevelt, 48,000 acres of land that had been granted to Taos Pueblo by Spain in the 16th century, were annexed to the Kit Carson National Forest, including Blue Lake.
(gentle music) - [Mabel] Tony told me about Blue Lake and made me see it from the Indian viewpoint.
(gentle music) The holiest spot in Taos Pueblo's geography.
(gentle music continues) - [Narrator] Now, in 1921, an additional 600,000 acres of tribal land throughout New Mexico were threatened with the possibility of sale to non-native squatters.
Mabel and Tony were among the first to realize the dangers to native ways of life.
- [Art] Olaf Bursum was a senator from New Mexico who'd introduced this bill, which would've opened up all Pueblo lands to sale to settlers.
- [Fred] Tony and John Collier, whom Mabel had sent for, went around and they managed to get across to the country to women's groups and to church groups and so forth, that this was a religious freedom issue, as it was of course.
- [Flannery] In 1922 when the Bursum Bill was introduced, it was only two years after women had gotten the right to vote nationally.
There was a great fear among Congress people that because the General Federation of Women's Clubs had mobilized against the bill, that this could hurt them in their political chances.
- [Narrator] Mabel engaged the National Federation of Women's Clubs, 2 million strong, to deluge the Congress with letters against the bill.
The congressman feared that if they ignored the demands of new women voters, all women would vote them out of office in a single block.
(soft percussive music) The protection of American Indian land and cultures soon became a national movement supported by artists, writers, and average Americans.
(Tony speaking in foreign language) - [Narrator] To avoid any controversy in the campaign, Mabel and Tony quietly married.
Tony annulled his Pueblo marriage, creating a huge fight between Candelaria, his native wife and Mabel.
Nothing like this had ever happened in the Pueblo.
(percussive music) - [Standing Deer] Boy, that was a doozy for a lot of our people.
They couldn't comprehend what he was doing.
They're telling him, "What in the hell is the matter with you?
Where is your Tiwa sense?
Where is your Kiva sense?
What are you doing?
You know, why are you trying to make trouble for us?"
This is a person that will never make it in our tribal way.
The whole thing wasn't for that point.
Tony felt something that he never felt before.
(Tony speaking in foreign language) - [Narrator] Mabel understood how to use the media to build a national image.
She helped send a Pueblo delegation to Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C to argue against allowing squatters to obtain clear title to stolen Indian land.
Mabel and Tony were delighted to learn of the defeat of the Bursum Bill in 1923.
It improved a process through which the Pueblo leadership communicated with the federal government.
- [Fred] The Indian Claims Commission would hold that, yes, this land was taken illegally from the tribe, but their only remedy was to pay money.
Taos Pueblo said steadfastly for 60 years, "We don't want the money.
We wanted the land.
This is central to our religion and to our culture."
- [Narrator] For 60 years, the Pueblo continued to fight for Blue Lake.
(gentle music) (Tony speaking in foreign language) (gentle music) - [Mabel] The new life was gradually shaping itself.
I relinquished nearly everything that surrounded me in former years, and I was glad to do it.
For a while, there was a euphoric zest and delight in every day and night.
- [Narrator] Mabel's journey had brought her to a place of happiness and fulfillment.
Then it was discovered that they both had contracted syphilis.
(gentle music) - [Mabel] I who'd never believed in secrets, now had this shameful one that hurt me with every breath I drew.
- [Narrator] Overwhelmed, Mabel collapsed and lay unconscious for three days.
Tony feared that she was dying.
(gentle traditional music) - [Mabel] I awoke in my bed.
Tony was sitting cross-legged wrapped in a white sheet.
I knew he'd been praying.
He threw his sheet back and came over and put his arms about me and laid his face against mine.
(Tony speaking in foreign language) - [Mabel] At the touch and closeness of Tony, my life started to flow back through my heart.
We were never separate or cold or lost to each other again.
- [Narrator] 1929 was a significant year for Mabel.
Ansel Adams arrived and Tony arranged for him to shoot his first book of photography, "Taos Pueblo".
(tense music) Artist, John Marin visited for the first of two summers producing 100 watercolors.
(calming music) Inspired by D.H. Lawrence, artist Dorothy Brett had come over from England.
She would remain in Taos for the rest of her life.
(traditional percussive music) Artists Georgia O'Keeffe and Rebecca Strand arrived in Santa Fe and visited Santa Domingo Pueblo for a winter celebration.
- [Flannery] They were at this dance and Mabel Dodge cornered them and said, "If you're in New Mexico, you have to stay with me."
And Strand and O'Keeffe initially say, "Oh, no, no, no.
We can stay somewhere else."
And Mabel Dodge says, "Well, too bad, 'cause I've already sent your trunks to my house."
- [Narrator] That afternoon, they took a walk behind Mabel's house where there is a morado with an old Penitente cross.
There was a great sunset and a painting came out of that moment.
(lively music) (man singing in foreign language) - [Narrator] In a week, her inspiration began to flow with the influences of this place.
(man singing in foreign language) - [Kathryn] When Georgia O'Keeffe arrived, Mabel Dodge had been struggling with writing about her life and trying to find what her purpose was.
Georgia O'Keeffe is instantly able to express herself through her art, not just what she's seeing around her, but the feeling that arises in her from being in New Mexico.
Mabel probably felt a little insecure.
They were both headstrong women and they both liked things their way, but ultimately, I think that was a huge inspiration for Mabel Dodge.
She sat down then and wrote 1600 pages of memoirs.
(gentle guitar music) - [Georgia] Mabel's Place beats anything you can imagine about it.
It's simply astonishing.
And Tony is really its crowning glory.
He's very grand here.
(gentle music) - [Narrator] Ailing throughout O'Keeffe's entire visit, it was determined that Mabel should have a hysterectomy.
- [Mabel] The day came when I had to go to Buffalo for my operation.
It seemed natural to go to my mother's for the best treatment and aftercare.
I was terrified.
Would I still be a woman?
Tony's face kept coming back to memory after the train left, so concerned, so full of cherishing love.
Why did I ever leave him?
- [Narrator] Tony dictated letters daily to O'Keeffe, which she embellished and posted to Mabel.
- [Mabel] Georgia wrote and wrote about Tony.
She tried to tell me of the tone of his voice when he spoke of me, but all the things she wrote did no good.
- [Georgia] I want to tell you that next to my Stieglitz, I have found nothing finer than your Tony.
He is one of the most remarkable people I've ever known.
He's wonderful to me, like a mountain is wonderful, but such an uncanny sense of life and human ways, such a child and such a man at the same time.
And if Tony doesn't love you, according to my notion, then nobody ever will.
- [Mabel] I returned to Taos feeling vanquished by life.
I cried and stormed and stayed in bed ill. Tony sat by me in silence.
He looked grieved and occasionally heaved deep sighs.
(gentle music) The next summer when Georgia returned and started in on Tony the first day and asked him to go ride, et cetera, et cetera, I had it out with her and told her, "Lay off Tony.
I'm well now and able to do things with him myself."
- [Narrator] Mabel was determined to perfect her own writings, thoughts and perceptions.
- [Dorothy] She poured herself into those books.
The energy concentration was boundless.
Mabel wrote incessantly without stopping, day after day lying on her sofa with a copy book and pencil.
(gentle music) - [Narrator] Her five volumes of memoirs totaled over 1600 pages and took 10 years to complete.
- [Mabel] When I was with Tony, I was in tune with all outdoors and with myself as well.
I felt real at last, not a pretended reality, but a true reality of my own.
- [Narrator] Tony and his friends invited Mabel on a rare camping trip to Blue Lake (distant insects chirping) (distant insects chirping continues) The first night of the journey, Mabel fell ill and a medicine tea was prepared for her.
It was made with peyote.
Native peoples throughout the Americas have long used peyote to enhance their spiritual practices and to arouse deep introspection.
(gentle music) - [Mabel] The medicine ran through me, so all the elements that were combined in me shifted like particles of a kaleidoscope and fell into an orderly pattern.
(charming music) I was not separate or isolated anymore.
(charming music) Is this the state that artists perpetually try to find I wonder?
I felt a vast peace all through me and a sense of secret knowledge of our oneness.
(charming music) (water rushing) - [Narrator] The next morning, Mabel and Tony rode to the top of the sacred mountain, then down to Blue Lake.
- [Mabel] I looked and my heart stopped.
The face of the lake gazed up at us.
It was directly below, a pool of burning blue.
It had life.
It had conscious life.
I knew it.
(water rustling) - [Narrator] Her visit to Blue Lake had a profound impact on Mabel.
The experience greatly influenced her memoir, "Edge of Taos Desert, an escape to reality."
- [Mabel] When I began to compare my life in Taos with Florence and Greenwich Village, this world of escapers I'd lived among, this crowd of reformers, artists, writers, labor leaders, philosophers, and scientists, they had been terribly busy in the job, that being the job of avoiding responsibility of themselves.
Their activities had not left them any time for merely being.
Everything they did took them away from the contemplation of the inner man.
- [D.H. Lawrence] Intimate Memories is so good, because you're not being literary.
When you're only trying to put down your own truth, nothing else, the stuff becomes excellent.
- [Ansel] I finished "Edge of Taos Desert" in a state of amazed revelation.
Your book has made me confident it is going to help others take life by the talons.
- [A.A. Brill] I just finished reading your Intimate Memories and I hope that the others will be following soon.
I feel that it would be wrong for you to wait until after you were dead and buried before your other memories are open to the world.
- [Rena] Taos would've been a much less interesting place without Mabel having come here.
Doesn't matter what kind of person you thought she was, it doesn't matter whether you wanna trivialize her social life or whether you want to give her sainthood for being a patronist of the arts, her overall influence was greater than any one opinion of her.
- [Narrator] Through the 1950s, Mabel continued to invite distinguished visitors to Taos.
Mabel's son John continued to work for the return of Blue Lake after her death.
Towards the end of her life, Mabel struggled with dementia.
Sometimes she didn't even recognize Tony.
(Tony speaking in foreign language) - [Narrator] Mabel died in 1962 at the age of 83.
(gentle music) Tony passed away within nine months.
(melancholy music) Mable's charitable contributions were significant for her community.
She donated the building that became the first Holy Cross Hospital.
Bringing modern medicine and healthcare to the people of Taos.
- [Mabel] I'm not sure I knew from the beginning what I wanted to accomplish.
There was an intention, but it was not thought out in advance.
I wanted to find love and a place where I belonged.
I wanted to live in a world where a woman could choose her own role in life and enjoy the same freedoms men had.
I wanted to be part of a community where souls were not judged by race or religion.
I wanted to tell the story of my Taos.
(charming music) ♪♪ (gental traditional music) Awakening in Taos The Mabel Dodge Luhan Story is available on Amazon Prime Video.