“It’s Not the Years, It’s the Mileage”: An Indiana Jones Chronology, Part 6 — The Final Years and Appendices

August 1957 — Indy and his former WWII intelligence partner George “Mac” McHale head for one of Indy’s favorite places to do archaeology work — the central coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. They spend several weeks exploring Mayan ruins and gathering artifacts.[1]

August 30, 1957 — Indy and Mac are abducted by Soviet KGB agents in southern Mexico. The abduction team is headed by Dr. Irina Spalko, a Ukrainian scientist and specialist in psychic research.[1]


Indiana Jones, 1957

August 31, 1957 — After almost two days of travel (part of which was spent locked in the trunk of a car), Indy and Mac arrive with their Soviet captors at the U.S. Air Force’s Nevada Test and Training Range, better known as “Area 51.” The Soviets infiltrate the base, and knowing Indy was on the analytic team that worked on the Roswell UFO crash, force him to locate the case containing the heavily-magnetized mummified alien body. Mac suddenly reveals that gambling debts have forced him to work for the Soviets. As Indy manages his escape, Spalko and Mac make off with the alien remains. (In eluding his Russian pursuers, Indy inadvertently cracks open the crate containing the Ark of the Covenant.) Indy gets clear of the area on a rocket sled, which blasts him for several miles down a track at fantastic speed, causing him to pass out from the g-forces.[2]

September 1, 1957 — Indy is lost and disoriented, wandering through the Nevada desert. He comes upon a town that is mysteriously deserted. It turns out to be a model town designed to test the results of an atomic explosion — which is about to be detonated. Indy seeks shelter in a lead-lined refrigerator in one of the model homes. He survives the blast, and is apprehended by the FBI, who decontaminate him and subject him to a hostile interrogation regarding his “assistance” to the KGB. He is released on the orders of General Robert Ross, who knows Indy from his OSS days in World War II, and assures the FBI he is not working with the KGB. The FBI warns Indy he is now a “person of interest.”[2]

indiana_jones_y_el_reino_de_la_calavera_de_cristal_2008_4September 20, 1957 — Indy is back at his teaching position three weeks after the incident in Nevada[1]. The Dean of Students, Charles Stanforth, pulls Indy from his classroom and says the FBI came in with search warrants and went through his office. The Board of Regents instructs Stanforth to place Indy on “indefinite leave,” essentially firing him. Stanforth resigns in protest. Not wasting time, Indy plans on leaving the country that very day, taking the train to New York and getting an overnight flight to London, and from there possibly to Leipzig University in Germany where he is “owed a favor.” As his train pulls out of the station, he is convinced to hop off by a young leather-jacketed motorcyclist, Mutt Williams. At the local diner, Mutt tells Indy that Indy’s old friend Harold Oxley had found a crystal skull in Peru, suffered a mental breakdown, and was later kidnapped. Indy relates that crystal skulls are associated with the lost city of Akator. Mutt gives Indy a letter from his mother, who was another friend of Oxley’s…and is now a fellow prisoner. (Oxley had looked after and Mutt and his mother after her husband was killed in World War II.) The letter says Indy is the only one who can help her and Oxley, and contains a riddle written by Oxley in an ancient South American language. At this point, KGB agents attempt to capture them, but Indy and Mutt evade them on a motorcycle. [2]

September 21-23, 1957 — Indy and Mutt travel to Cusco, Peru, by way of Havana and Mexico City. [2]

September 25, 1957 — After some time trying to pick up Oxley’s trail in Cusco, Indy and Mutt find out he has recently stayed in the local psychiatric hospital. Oxley’s scribbles on the walls and floor of his cell lead them to the grave of Francisco de Orellana, a 16th century conquistador who has searched for Akator. They discover the skull at the grave, with Indy reasoning that Oxley had returned it there after failing to get it back to Akator. [2]

September 26, 1957 — As the sun rises over the Peruvian graveyard, Indy and Mutt are captured by Mac and a group of Soviets. They are taken by air and river to the KGB camp deep in the Amazon jungle late that night, where they find Oxley, and Mutt’s mother, who turns out to be Marion Ravenwood. Dr. Spalko believes that the crystal skull belongs to an alien life form and holds great psychic power, and that finding more skulls in Akator will grant the Soviets the advantage of psychic warfare. Spalko uses the skull on Jones to enable him to understand Oxley’s ravings and identify a route to the lost city. Indy, Mutt, Marion, and Oxley escape with the skull, but Marion and Indy get trapped in a dry sandpit, and are recaptured by the Soviets. In the midst of all this, Marion reveals that Mutt is actually Indy’s son — born Henry Jones III, later becoming Henry Williams after her marriage to Colin Williams.[2]

September 27, 1957 —  On their way to Akator, Mac tells Indy he is a CIA double-agent to regain Indy’s trust, and Indy’s group once again fights its way out of the Soviet captivity. Indy and company survive three waterfalls in an amphibious vehicle, while many of the Soviets fall from a cliff while trying to pursue them. Mac had lied about being a double-agent and has been dropping transceivers to allow the surviving Soviets to track them. The adventurers gain access to the temple, and find it filled with artifacts from many ancient civilizations, identifying the aliens as extra-dimensional “archaeologists” studying the different cultures of Earth. They find and enter a chamber containing the crystal skeletons of thirteen alien beings, one missing its skull. Spalko arrives and presents the skull to its skeleton, whereupon the aliens reanimate and telepathically offer a reward in ancient Mayan through Oxley. A portal to their dimension becomes activated, and Spalko demands knowledge equal to the aliens’. The thirteen beings fuse into one, and in the process of receiving the overwhelming knowledge, Spalko is disintegrated and sucked into the portal. [2]

September 28, 1957– Indy, Marion, Mutt, and Oxley — who regained his sanity once the skull was replaced — escape, while the remaining Soviets are also drawn into the portal. Mac is caught in the vortex while trying to scrounge some of the treasure, and even though Indy offers him his whip to pull him to safety, he willingly lets go and is sucked in. Indy and the others escape and watch as the temple walls crumble, revealing a flying saucer rising from the debris and vanishing, while the hollow in the valley floor left by its departure is flooded by the waters of the Amazon. [2]

Early October, 1957 — Indy is reinstated at the college, and promoted to associate dean. Charles Stanforth withdraws his resignation. [2]

October 18, 1957 — Indiana Jones marries Marion Ravenwood at the college chapel.[2]


The wedding of Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood, October 1957

Late 1957 – ? A return to a quieter life, but we’ve been promised one more adventure…



APPENDIX A: Indiana Jones — Archaeologist

What are some details about how Dr. Jones practiced his trade?

Indy’s archaeological specialty is epigraphy — the study of written inscriptions and engravings.

The titles of any archaeological books or papers he has written over the course of his career are unknown, but he did write his memoirs at some point.[3] It seems he did not receive tenure until the early 1950s, probably as a result of his frequent absences from campus — which are grudgingly overlooked due to the amount of grant money and donors his notoriety brings to Barnett College[4] (and the fact that his classes are often covered by the capable and popular Marcus Brody.)

He speaks around thirty languages, including Spanish, French, German, Italian, Latin, Greek (modern and ancient), Anglo-Saxon, Swedish, Russian, Hungarian, Turkish, Hebrew, Arabic, Hindi, and several Meso- and South American native dialects (excluding Hovito, of course.) His Chinese and Vietnamese are basic but serviceable, but he only knows a few phrases in Japanese. He can read Sanskrit and most Egyptian hieroglyphs, and can use American Sign Language. Welsh and Icelandic have totally eluded him.

His expertise covers a wide range of historical eras and geographic regions, but his focus tends to be on the pre-Columbian societies of the American southwest, Mayan and pre-Mayan cultures of Mesoamerica, and the Inca and related tribes of South America. He is also quite knowledgeable about ancient Greece, the ancient Near East (including Egypt), and the Indian subcontinent. His heart really wasn’t in his first teaching position — Celtic archaeology in the British Isles — but he came to appreciate it. His interest can be piqued by compelling stories and artifacts from the Nordic regions or the Far East, but those areas seem to be secondary.

Indy’s Gear

Indy travels light — a single camel-leather suitcase and a side satchel are all he leaves home with. In the suitcase is a shaving kit, a single change of clothes (either his field outfit or his “dress” outfit — vested suit & bowtie — depending on what he’s wearing at the time), and a few books, charts, and maps pertinent to his current expedition. Any other requirements can be bought in local markets or bazaars. The suitcase will stay behind at whatever his lodgings happen to be, but his satchel goes with him everywhere. The satchel is a WWI canvas gas mask bag with a customized leather strap, generally containing the following:

  • Basic archaeologist’s tools — a small hammer & trowel, brushes, and chisels, rolled tightly in an oilcloth
  • Notebook & pencil
  • Travel papers, identification, and some local currency
  • Strips of cloth (for wrapping artifacts)
  • Gun oil
  • Leather dressing
  • Hat brush
  • Soft cowhide gloves with straight thumb-seams and color-matched binding

He keeps a decent amount of empty space in his satchel so he has room to carry whatever small artifacts he finds. If he’s traveling through a wet or tropical environment, he may sacrifice room in his satchel for an extra pair of socks in a small waterproof bag.

His glasses case, a nickel-silver folding knife with a stag horn handle, and a few rounds of ammunition for his pistol are kept in his pants or jacket pockets.

The Hat — A sable-brown rabbit-felt fedora with a sheenless brown ribbon, size 7¼, originally made by Herbert Johnson Hatters of London. Acquired in 1912, Indy considers the high-crowned, wide-brimmed hat (with a tight front pinch) good luck, and an essential part of his equipment. He has it patched, dry-cleaned, and re-blocked after every adventure, and has replaced the interior sweatband “eight or nine times” by the early 1940s. (He owns a few other fedoras as well, but his original remains his favorite.)

The Jacket — A variant of the Type A-2 leather flight jacket, put into service by the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1931. Indy’s custom version has removed the jersey knits from the hem and cuffs, and altered some of the pleating to avoid getting the jacket caught on his gun belt.

The Shirt and Pants — Indy’s typical shirt for field work is a light tan (or “stone”) long-sleeved cotton poplin safari shirt, with shoulder epaulets, two breast pockets, and two vertical strips of pleated cloth running down both front sides from the shoulder to the tail. His pants are made from traditional cavalry twill, and are sometimes on the “reddish” spectrum of khaki, sometimes on the “gray” side. They have button-flap back pockets, deep hip pockets, and a four-inch military hem. His belt is a standard military web belt with a brass slide buckle. He also wears a gun belt (see below.)

The Boots — Indy always opts for Alden 405s — dark-brown, vegetable-tanned orthopedic ankle boots with rubber heels, steel shanks, and soft cotton lining. Size 10½ .

The Whip — Indy’s kangaroo-hide bullwhip is 10 feet long with an 8-inch knobbed handle and a 12-plait thong at the business end.

The Gun — Indy has had a number of sidearms over the years

  • A Webley Green .455 revolver (often mistaken for the very similar Mark IV). This was gifted to him by the villagers of Whithorn, Scotland in 1925, and used on all of his early adventures. He retired it for awhile, then brought it back into action around 1938 and used it on most subsequent adventures through at least 1957.
  • A Colt Official Police .38 revolver, used in the early 1930s, and dropped by Willie Scott out a car window while escaping Lao Che in Shanghai. (Indy has an empty holster through the rest of Temple of Doom.)
  • A Smith & Wesson M1917 “Hand Ejector” Mark II revolver, chambered to fit .45 caliber rounds, with a custom (4-inch) barrel and lanyard ring on the end of the butt. (He seems to have owned a couple of these models.) Used by Indy in the mid-1930s, this is his iconic Raiders pistol.
  • By the end of 1936, having had several weapons lost or taken from him, Indy travels with a back-up automatic pistol in his inside jacket pocket — a slim Browning Hi-Power 9mm. (Watch Raiders carefully — he has to use it a couple of times.)
  • In his youth in the trenches of World War I, he was issued a French Modele 1892 service revolver, later upgraded to a Belgian Nagant Model 1883 revolver. As an agent of French Intelligence later in the war, Indy carried or commandeered several types of small automatic pistols — an FN Browning Model 1900, an FN 1910, and a Star Ruby, all .32 caliber.

Indy is described by colleague Walter Granger as a “terrible shot,”[5] always jerking the trigger rather than squeezing it. He is much more dangerous with his bullwhip. Both the revolver holster (a Webley-brand “flap” model) and a button-snap quick release loop for the whip are threaded onto a gun belt, leather with a metal notch buckle, slung low around Indy’s waist.

The Holy Bee is grateful to the following for information used above: Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide, IndyGear.com, TheRaider.net, Indianajones.wikia.com, and the Internet Movie Firearms Database (IMFDB.com). Other bits and pieces were noted as I made my way through all the films, TV episodes, novels, and comics. 

APPENDIX B: Marshall College or Barnett College?

Because of conflicting movie tie-in novelizations, Indy is associated with two colleges. The names are never mentioned out loud in the films themselves. The Raiders novelization, set in 1936, states that he works for Marshall College in Connecticut (named after Raiders producer Frank Marshall), and the Last Crusade novelization, set in 1938, states that he works for Barnett College in upstate New York. Other chronologies deal with this by simply stating that he switches colleges sometime in 1937, and then returns to Marshall by the time of Crystal Skull (1957)but it may not be so clear-cut. I believe there was not a “Marshall College,” and that Indy has been continuously at Barnett since the fall of 1934. Let’s examine the evidence, giving the most weight to what’s in the films themselves:

  • The establishing shots of Indy’s college are the same in both Raiders and Crystal Skull. It is the same building. (In reality, the location is the Faye Spanos Concert Hall at the University of the Pacific.)
  • Indy’s classroom in Raiders is the same one that’s in Last Crusade — they were filmed in the same location, at the Rickmansworth Masonic School in England. (His Crystal Skull classroom was built on a studio set, but is clearly intended to be the same room.)
  • So, all three films that feature Indy in his university environment are visually linked. The filmmakers clearly intended for Indy to be at the same college from 1936 through 1957, and it was the carelessness of the tie-in novelization writers that forced two colleges into the timeline. Marshall was the first one named in 1981, but Barnett receives more frequent name-checks at higher level canon.
  • Students in Last Crusade are shown holding notebooks labeled “Barnett College.” This is evidently what the college was named in the original screenplay, and is what led to writer Rob MacGregor using the name in the novelization.
  • Indy is entertaining a job offer specifically from Barnett in 1934 at the end of the novel Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Sphinx.
  • Barnett College is mentioned several times in the Dark Horse comic series — Marshall College, never. (The distinctive “establishing” building is shown in Indiana Jones and the Tomb of the Gods, but is unlabeled.)
  • In the digest comic Indiana Jones Adventures, Vol. 2 set in 1931, he does hold a telegram addressed to him at “Marshall College” — but the prequel novels have already established him at Princeton University from 1930-34 (thanks to that colossal blunder by author Martin Caidin that subsequent authors had to accept and work with.)
  • The Marvel Comics series does mention Marshall several times — but we know what became of the Marvel Comic series in the Holy Bee’s timeline.
  • Marshall College is mentioned as Indy’s place of employment in the YA novel Indiana Jones and the Mystery of Mount Sinai, which is set in 1941, a period already firmly established as the Barnett College era in many other stories.
  • “Marshall College” had entered the Indy lexicon by the time of Crystal Skull, so a lot of the extras are wearing MARSHALL letterman jackets in the diner scene. My theory is that Marshall is a local high school, which would be far more suited to the whole “letterman jacket” look. Do universities even have letterman jackets? My theory can be de-bunked in two ways. 1) One of the students is shown ordering a beer. 2) Indy refers to one of them as “Joe College.” I have an answer to both — the minimum drinking age was 18 in many places up until recently, and “Joe College” can be the derogatory nickname of a clean-cut, preppy-looking guy of any age. None of the students depicted on the actual campus or in the college library are wearing these jackets.

After a period of soul-searching on par with what actual college to attend in real life, I decided to eliminate Marshall as there was no logical reason to keep two identical-looking East Coast brick colleges in the narrative, and the evidence for the name “Barnett” was stronger.

The real lesson here is that Lucas, Spielberg, et al. do not care about this nit-picky stuff as much as we do.

1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull novelization

2. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Specific dates suggested by “The Diaies of Indiana Jones.”

3. Indiana Jones and the Golden Fleece

4. The explanation for keeping his job despite repeatedly abandoning it to go on some advenutre is offered by the out-of-Holy Bee-canon Marvel Comics series, but it makes sense.

5. Indiana Jones and the Dinosaur Eggs

Leave a comment

Filed under Film & TV

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s