Before anesthetics, surgeons relied on speed, brandy, and brutality. Reveals how a fairground dentist named Horace Wells made an essential breakthrough in pain mitigation by ingesting nitrous oxide and pulling out one of his own teeth. Recounting Wells' foray into other surgical procedures with the help of a colleague, William Morton, the subsequent split between the two researchers, with Morton favoring ether while Wells gravitated toward chloroform, are explored. Offers a concise history of anesthetics by featuring other self-experimenters like Humphry Davy and Sigmund Freud as well as a present-day version of Dr. Fred Prescott's curare self-test. Accessibility options on the DVD are: (1) audio description, (2) English subtitles in a black box.