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Although the Indians were assured their lands adjacent to the Black Hills by contract, the Whites want to expel them. Meanwhile, gold has been discovered there and the unscrupulous settler, Red Fox, demands of Mattotaupa, chief of the Bears Clan belonging to the Dakota tribe, to reveal to him the location of a cave with gold deposits. Mattotaupa refuses and is stabbed to death by Red Fox in the presence of his son Tokei-ihto. Lieutenant Roach orders Tokei-ihto to Fort Smith in order to negotiate. The son of the slain chief suspects that the Whites are planning an ambush, a fear that is confirmed when he encounters Red Fox there. Tokei-ihto refuses to move to a reservation in an infertile area with his tribe and is incarcerated. When the Dakota Indians have been defeated and resettled, he is released. Tokei-ihto learns of the murder of the senior chief Tashunka-witko. Tokei-ihto now wants to fulfill his legacy, escaping with the subgroup of his tribe to the fertile areas beyond the ... Written by
DEFA Film Library
Tokei-ihto rides to Fort Smith for negotiations between Indians and white men, although he does not trust "Red Fox" Clark who introduced the natives to drinking and gambling. He even killed Tokei-ihto's father. Tokei-ihto is taken prisoner after he refused to sign a contract, but he escapes. Finding a peaceful land for themselves is a long and dangerous mission for Tokei-ihto's tribe. They are crossing the Missouri river while Tokei-ihto stays behind for a duel against Red Fox.
This was the first East German western production starring Gojko Mitic. The Yugoslavian actor had gained experience as a stuntman and played small parts alongside Pierre Brice in 3 West German Karl May films. Other actors only pretend they did all stunts themselves - Mitic really did everything himself, which contributed to his fame. "Die Söhne der großen Bärin" was his first main role in a western and an immediate huge success. Mitic recalled in a TV interview recently that it was watched by 10 million people, more than half of the entire population of the GDR! 40 years later, it seems a bit slow moving, a bit too traditional, whereas later DEFA productions had defined a style of their own more clearly. Still good entertainment if you don't mind men with wigs ;-)
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