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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


Indiana Jones: The Unicorn's Legacy Indiana Jones
The Unicorn's Legacy
Written by Rob MacGregor
Cover by Drew Struzan

(Page numbers come from the mass market paperback edition, 1st printing, September 1992)

Indy is dragged into a search for an ancient staff allegedly made from a unicorn's horn.


Read the "Early June 1928", "June 21, 1928", "June 26, 1928", "Late June, 1928", and "Early September, 1928" entries of the It’s Not the Years, It’s the Mileage Indiana Jones chronology for a summary of this novel


Notes from the Indiana Jones chronology


This novel takes place in May-September 1928.


Notes from The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones


The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones is a 2008 publication that purports to be Indy's journal as seen throughout The Young Indiana Chronicles TV series and the big screen Indiana Jones movies. The publication is also annotated with notes from a functionary of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation, the successor agency of the Soviet Union's KGB security agency. The KGB relieved Indy of his journal in 1957 during the events of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The notations imply the journal was released to other governments by the FSB in the early 21st Century. However, some bookend segments of The Young Indiana Chronicles depict Old Indy still in possession of the journal in 1992. The discrepancy has never been resolved. 


The journal as published skips over this adventure, going from a reference to 1926 events in The Seven Veils to 1933 and the repercussions of events in The Philosopher's Stone. Quite a large gap and a number of un-journaled adventures.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this story


Jonathan Ainsworth

Michael Ainsworth


Mary Ainsworth

Mrs. Ainsworth

Frederick Mathers

campus groundskeepers

college students

Indiana Jones

Mara Rogers (dies in this novel)


white-haired professor

maître d' of faculty club

Dr. Marcus Brody

college professors

Dierdre Campbell-Jones (mentioned only, deceased)


physics professor (mentioned only)




Roland Walcott (dies in this novel)



Oscar "Smitty" Smithers (Mara's father, dies in this novel)


Sam's horse

Walcott's goons

Jimbo (dies in this novel)

Jack Shannon

Katrina Zobolotsky-Shannon (mentioned only)

Noah Indiana Shannon (mentioned only)

Mrs. Shannon (Jack's mother, mentioned only)


Rosie Smithers (dies in this novel)

Sara Rogers Smithers (Mara's mother, formerly Smitty's wife, mentioned only, deceased)

Diego Calderone

Calderone's thugs



Cortez doctor



Bluff doctor

Rangers (mentioned only)

Neddie Watson

old Moqui (mentioned only)


Chico (horse)


James Rogers (mentioned only, deceased)

Giorgio Belbava (mentioned only, deceased)

Doge Barbargio (mentioned only, deceased)

Peter Rogers (mentioned only, deceased)

Lorraine Rogers (mentioned only, deceased)

Henry Jones, Sr. (mentioned only)

Italian woman at Santa Maria

Felix Schultz (mentioned only, Indy uses his name as an alias here)

museum guards

Roman artisans (mentioned only)

Calderone's servants

custodian at St. Agnes church



Didja Notice?


The book opens with two quotes about unicorns. They are actual lines from Shakespeare's The Tempest and from the Book of Psalms in the Bible.




The prologue takes place in 1786 in Yorkshire, England. Yorkshire is a county in northern England.


Michael Ainsworth tells his son to destroy the alicorn he has hidden in the false bottom of a trunk in the closet of their family's home. As he explains to his son here, "alicorn" is another term for a unicorn's horn. Unicorns are mythological creatures that look like a horse and have a single horn on the forehead.


Chapter 1: Diving Into the Ice Age


This chapter, along with Chapter 2, taking place in Montignac, France in 1924 is covered in an earlier study as a mini-adventure of Indiana Jones in "A Dive Into the Ice Age".


Chapter 2: Subterranean Treachery


This chapter, along with Chapter 1, taking place in Montignac, France in 1924 is covered in an earlier study as a mini-adventure of Indiana Jones in "A Dive Into the Ice Age".


Chapter 3: The Three R's


This chapter opens in May 1928.


The three R's of the chapter title are explained here as Indy's own three R's: roaming, recreation, and romance. These three R's are what he plans of for his summer break from teaching. (Normally, "the three R's" are considered to be academic: reading, 'riting, and 'rithematic, a phrase that seems to have originated in the 1800s, possibly in England.)


Indy has his bags packed and train ticket purchased for Cortez, Colorado for his summer break from teaching. The private college Indy is teaching at at this time is not named.


Indy's "vacation" will be a working one, with archaeological research in Four Corners. "Four Corners" is a term used for the area around where the four corners of the U.S. states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico meet.


On page 30, some students ask Indy if he's read the new book Anthropology and Modern Life by Franz Boas, which they say confutes the theory of a master race. This is a real book, published in 1928 and does have passages refuting theories of racial superiority. Franz Boas (1858–1942) was a German-American pioneer of modern anthropology who is considered by many in the filed to be the "Father of American Anthropology".


On page 30, Indy rides the elevator up to the top floor of the college's administration building and begins humming "Makin' Woopee". An old professor also riding in the elevator asks him if that's the song, and Indy responds that it isn't "Button up Your Overcoat". "Makin' Whoopee" is an actual 1928 jazz song performed by Eddie Cantor in the same year's musical play Whoopee! "Button up Your Overcoat" is another 1928 song by Ray Henderson, B.G. DeSylva, and Lew Brown.


On page 31, men in the lobby of the faculty club are reading copies of the New York Times.


Page 32 mentions that Indy had lost his job teaching at the University of London. Indy had worked as an assistant professor at the university in Dance of the Giants, The Seven Veils, and The Genesis Deluge, losing the position at the end of the latter novel.


On page 34, Marcus states that his museum (The National Museum) has the largest Roman exhibition outside Rome.


Page 34 reveals that Mara lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As revealed in "A Dive Into the Ice Age", she grew up in Bluff, Utah, where Indy now plans to base himself for summer excursions into the surrounding canyons.


Indy's story to his class on pages 36-37 about a young girl having been the discoverer of the famed Altamira cave paintings in Spain in 1879, and the doubt cast on them at the time by archeologic and artistic experts, is correct.


On page 37, Indy remarks to his class that he found some cave paintings himself near the village of Montignac. This was detailed in "A Dive Into the Ice Age". Montignac, France is a tiny commune near the base of the Pyrenees mountain chain dividing southern France from Spain.


On pages 37-38, Indy mentions more cave paintings found by a farmer in Tayac. Tayac is another tiny commune in France, a bit farther north in southwestern France. Cave paintings have, indeed, been found there.


On page 40, Indy shows photo slides of cave paintings near Montespan in the foothills of the Pyrenees and at Les Trois-Frères. These are both locations in the Pyrenees known for their prehistoric cave paintings.


Chapter 4: Cliff Dwellings


Chapter 4 takes place a month after the events of Chapter 3, in the aforementioned Four Corners area.


    With the help of Ute tribe member Sam, Mara has come from Cortez to do some on location research at the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings. Spruce Tree House on page 45 is one of the actual ancient dwellings there. The Mesa Verde dwellings were known by the local Ute tribe of Native Americans, but was "discovered" by those of European ancestry when two brother ranchers stumbled across it in 1888. Indy visited Mesa Verde and Spruce Tree House previously in The Lost Gold of Durango.

    Mesa Verde was a National Park even at this time, established as such in 1906.


Mara is surprised at how green and wooded the Mesa Verde area is when most of the Four Corners area is dry and desolate like the Valley of the Gods and Monument Valley. She should have known that verde in Mesa Verde is Spanish for green!


Chapter 5: Sand Island


The monuments and Anasazi lore Indy muses on on pages 53-55 is accurate.


Jack Shannon, Indy's jazz player friend from Chicago, now living in San Francisco, joins Indy for a visit during the archeologist's Four Corners research expedition.


Indy buys a used '24 Ford truck in Cortez to use for travelling to his planned explorations.


On pages 56-57, Indy reflects on Jack, a few years ago, having taken up religion and a literal interpretation of the Bible. This was detailed in The Genesis Deluge.


The Anasazi ruins Indy plans on visiting on page 57 are all actual sites in the Four Corners area.


Page 58 has Jack missing his wife and 14-month old son. This son is presumably Noah Indiana Shannon, first mentioned at the end of The Genesis Deluge, as a premonition and promise-name in August 1927. To be 14-months old in June 1928, the boy would have to have been born in April 1927, months before Jack and his wife Katrina were even an item! Unless Katrina had a hidden child by another man during the events of the aforementioned novel, the boy's age is off. He should only be about a month old at most, which, if so, doesn't seem like it would make the best time for Jack to be taking a two-week vacation from his family to visit his old drinking buddy a couple states away!


Jack also misses his North Beach hangouts. North Beach is a neighborhood of San Francisco known, among other things, for its jazz clubs on the street called Broadway that runs out to the Embarcadero.


Walcott drives a Packard. Chapter 16 reveals it is a 1927 model. Packard was an American luxury automobile manufacturer from 1899-1958.


Page 63 mentions Mexican Hat. Mexican Hat is a rock formation in the Four Corners area of Utah that looks like a Mexican sombrero hat. There is a very tiny village nearby of the same name.


Chapter 6: Walcott's Call


Mara had claimed to Walcott that she had an alicorn which had once been housed in St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice.


Page 69 states that Calderone was the leader of a resistance force in Italy intent on overthrowing Benito Mussolini. Mussolini was the fascist ruler Italy from 1922-1943.


On page 72, Smitty remarks that Bluff was founded around 1880 by Mormons. This is true.


On page 73, Indy looks in a desk drawer of the room Mara had been using at her father's boarding house, finding a Bible and the Book of Mormon. In 1908, the Christian organization Gideons International began distributing Bibles to hotels, to be placed in each guest room. At times, other religious groups have distributed other religious books, such as the Book of Mormon.


The description of Anasazi kivas and sipapus on pages 74-75 is correct.


The description in the book of the Anasazi people who lived at Mesa Verde (and other sites across the American southwest) in ancient times is generally accurate. Modern-day civilization doesn't know what these people called themselves; they are often called Anasazi in modern times from a Navajo word meaning "ancient enemy". "Puebloans" is becoming the more accepted term for this ancient civilization, as the meaning of "Anasazi" is not particularly complementary.


Mara explains to Jack that she knew Indy when they were both students at the Sorbonne. This was seen in "A Dive Into the Ice Age". She also tells him she is now an art history professor at the University of New Mexico.


Chapter 7: On the Ropes


As stated on page 81, Richard and Al Wetherill were the two brothers who were the first white men to sight Mesa Verde, and Richard dug out the cliff dwellings to find large numbers of artifacts, many of which he displayed at the Chicago World's Fair of 1893. The Richard Wetherill story through page 82 is accurate as well.


Chapter 8: Shoot-out at Mesa Verde


Page 92 reveals that Walcott survived his presumed death in the underground river in "A Dive Into the Ice Age" by using air pockets between the water and stone and had been carried downstream until the river emerged from the hills. Then he'd returned to London and hidden there for a few months until going back to Paris to find Mara.


Chapter 9: Mara's Message


On page 110, Indy dismisses the idea that Mara might have a unicorn horn in her possession, saying maybe it's a horn from a mastodon. Mastodons were members of the animal genus Mammut in the North and Central American continents related to the elephant family that went extinct about 10,000-11,000 years ago. Despite Indy's use of the term "horn" here, mastodons did not have horns, but did have tusks, similar to an elephant's.


On page 112, Smitty asks Indy if he knows why much of the Anasazi pottery has such a rough outer surface and Indy responds it was probably so it would be easier to hold onto after it had been filled with water. But Smitty speculates that it may simply be that they liked the look of the baskets of the previous (Basketmaker) culture and made their pottery to look that way. Smitty's theory is generally believed to be true by modern researchers.


On page 117, Neddie tells Indy that an old Moqui bought the alicorn from him at his pawn shop. As Indy says here, "Moqui" is an old term for the Hopi Native American ethnic group, who are believed to be descendants of the Puebloans.


Chapter 10: Shape-shifter


The details about the 1920 Nels C. Nelson expedition and location of Junction Ruin on page 121 are correct.


Page 129 reveals that Aguila/Changing Man is also Rosie's grandfather.


On page 131, Indy reflects on his eagle guardian totem, which he had previously seen in Delphi, Stonehenge, and the Amazon jungle. These are references to visions he had in The Peril at Delphi, Dance of the Giants, and The Seven Veils.


Chapter 11: Grand Gulch


The quotes about unicorns that Jack reads from the Bible on pages 139-140 are accurate.


Chapter 12: The Three Circles


No notes.


Chapter 13: Departures 


On page 157, Mara has a view of Sipapu Bridge. This is an actual natural bridge spanning White Canyon in Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah. (Photo of Sipapu Bridge by the USGS and found on Wikipedia.)


The information about the bridges in the national monument mentioned on page 160 is accurate.


Rosie tells Walcott that the staff is hidden at Hovenweep. Hovenweep is a national monument consisting of the ruins of Ancestral Puebloan villages in southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado.


Chapter 14: The Journal


On page 172, Indy reads from the old journal, finding an entry by Mara's ancestor James Rogers dated 1798, where he writes about the staff and that it has a silver-gilded handle in the design of a double-headed eagle, a symbol probably Hittite in origin.

The Hittite empire existed in the Mesopotamian region during the Bronze Age, circa the 18th through 11th Centuries BC.


On page 173, James Rogers writes that he translated the Greek writing on the staff and that it mentions John Paleologus, Emperor. Rogers thinks it refers to John VI of the Paleologus dynasty, who ruled the eastern Roman Empire from 1425-1448 AD. In reality, the emperor he speaks of was John VIII.


    Rogers states that he studied up on the alicorn at the British Museum Library and St. Mark's Library in Venice. The British Museum Library broke off from the British Museum in 1973, becoming the British Library, the national library of the UK.

    He learned that the alicorn had been taken by the Venetians at the fall of Constantinople in 1204. The Venetian naval fleet played a significant role in the fall of the city, which was part of the larger Fourth Crusade in 1202-1204.

    The alicorn wound up in the hands of a wealthy jewel merchant named Giorgio Belbava and his son gave it to Doge Barbarigo of Venice, who gave it to the procurator of St. Mark's Cathedral. Belbava appears to be fictitious. Doge (Duke) Barbarigo was Agostino Barbarigo (1419-1501).


About a year after purchasing the alicorn from Jonathan Ainsworth, Rogers travelled to America and lived in Boston.


In a letter written to his son Jonathan in 1785, Michael Ainsworth states that he was responsible for keeping in order the legal affairs of an organization called the People of the Horn at a manse in Mayfair, which worked at disavowing belief in unicorns. This appears to be a fictitious organization.


Historically, the mythological unicorn's horn was believed to cure many diseases, including the Plague, as stated on page 176. Whether the English Royal College of Physicians actually listed it as an official drug is debatable, but many physician's services listed other medicines as containing "unicorn's horn" when it actually contained horn of narwhal or other creatures.


Michael Ainsworth writes that two unicorn horns were said to have been kept at St. Mark's and another in the Jewell House of the Tower of London. The Jewell House is where the Crown Jewells of England are kept.


On page 182, Peter Rogers writes that he settled in Escalante, Utah and it was there that he discovered that the alicorn was still in the family's possession in a steamer trunk.


On page 183, Sara Rogers remarks in the journal that she was adopted by a Mormon family. This is a reference to the Mormon religion, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, based out of Salt Lake City, Utah.


Chapter 15: Hovenweep


The title of this chapter refers to the Hovenweep National Monument, consisting of the ruins of Ancestral Puebloan villages as mentioned earlier in this study.


Chapter 16: Sun Daggers


Mara refers to a harder to reach group of towers in the Colorado portion of Hovenweep as the Holy Group. This is an actual site that is hard to reach, believed to have been of archeo-astronomical significance to the Anasazi.


On page 210, Indy reads a Greek inscription on the staff and identifies it as being from the Byzantine liturgy called the Trisagion, "Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One," and with the final part missing, "Have mercy on us." These are all words of the prayer of the Trisagion, dating from the 5th Century, if not older.


Holding the staff, Indy cannot help but be reminded of his father's continuing quest for the Holy Grail. The Holy Grail is the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper and is a prime interest of Henry Sr.'s, as seen in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.


On page 210, Indy hears a voice in his head, seemingly a voice of the double-headed eagle cap on the staff, warning that only one who is without guile may possess it. The voice goes on to say that it is the Initiator "who through the ages carries Ganymedes upon his back into the presence of the gods." This would seem to refer to Greek mythology and the eagle who is said to have carried away Ganymede, the most beautiful of mortals, to serve as Zeus' cup-bearer in Olympus.


Chapter 17: Twists on the Horn


Mara tells Indy and Jack that she's taking the staff to one of the Vatican museums.


As Mara runs off with the staff, she mentally plans to drive to Santa Fe, take a train to Miami, then board an ocean liner to Italy.


Chapter 18: Roman Soiree


On page 225, Calderone picks up Mara in a Pierce-Arrow. The Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company operated from 1901-1938 and was known for its luxury vehicles.


After being rescued from the wilderness by Aguila and then taken out by the authorities, Indy and Jack spend a day in a hospital in Blanding, then Jack returns to his home in Los Angeles and Indy to New York


On page 228, Indy spots the Piazza della Repubblica in Rome as he heads to the Symposium on the Future of Roman Antiquities. Along the way, he stops in to see the architecture of the Santa Maria degli Angeli designed by Michelangelo and incorporating the original Baths of Diocletian built about 300 AD. The Piazza della Repubblica is an actual circular plaza near Rome's main train station. The Baths of Diocletian were the public baths of Rome. Michelangelo (1475-1564) was an Italian artist and engineer. The Symposium on the Future of Roman Antiquities appears to be a fictitious symposium for the time. (Photo of the Santa Maria degli Angeli from Wikipedia.)


On page 229, non capisco is Italian for "I do not understand."


After his visit to the Santa Maria degli Angeli, Indy visits the building behind it, Museo Nazionale Romano, which was once a Carthusian monastery. The Carthusians were a religious order of the Catholic Church.


Indy assumes the identity of Felix Schultz, a German professor of classical antiquities in Munich who was an ardent supporter of the Nazi Party, in order to enter the symposium. The Nazi Party was a far-right political party of 1920-1945 in Germany, led for most of that time by Adolf Hitler.


On page 233, Indy looks at a fresco that was from Empress Livia's villa at Prima Porta. Empress Livia was Livia Drusilla (59 BC - 29 AD), the wife of Emperor Augustus. Prima Porta (First Door) is a zone of Rome. The fresco Indy looks at, based on the description, is probably the one currently located on the second floor of the museum. (Photo of the Painted Garden fresco from Wikipedia.)


Chapter 19: The Switch


On page 240, Indy looks out the window of Calderone's car hoping to see something familiar so he'll know which direction they are heading. He wonders if they are heading towards the Colosseum or the Spanish Steps, then he recognizes Porta Pia, one of the main city gates. (Photo of the Porta Pia internal gate from Wikipedia.)


Fleeing from Calderone's villa on page 249, Indy finds himself at Via di Sant'Agnes (St. Agnes Street) and the Sant'Agnes church.


Chapter 20: Captivating Encounters


On page 262, Mara remarks that Calderone had thought his place in history would come to surpass Charlemagne's and Alexander the Great's. These were both notorious leaders of the Roman Empire at different times in world history.


On page 267, Mara accuses Calderone of being too much of a coward to defeat Il Duce. "Il Duce" is essentially Italian for "the Duke" and was a nickname used by Mussolini.




Indy and Aguila seal the alicorn away in amongst the boulders where it had been hidden before and blow the hole closed with dynamite. However, the alicorn comes back into play in The Interior World.


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