21 user 6 critic

Silent Tongue (1993)

PG-13 | | Drama, Horror, Western | 27 January 1995 (UK)
Mad with grief after the death of his Kiowa wife, Talbot awaits death under a tree with her body beside him. She begins to haunt him because he won't burn her. His father, who bought him the wife, thinks her sister might reason with him.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Talbot Roe
Sheila Tousey ...
Awbonnie / Ghost
Jeri Arredondo ...
David Shiner ...
Straight Man
Silent Tongue
Tommy Thompson ...
Medicine Show Band Performer
Jack Herrick ...
Medicine Show Band Performer
Bland Simpson ...
Medicine Show Band Performer
Clay Buckner ...
Medicine Show Band Performer
Chris Frank ...
Medicine Show Band Performer
Little Person Acrobat #1


It's 1873, Indian Territory. Talbot Roe is going mad with grief over losing his Indian wife, Awbonnie. In an effort to save him, his father, Prescott Roe, seeks to purchase the dead wife's sister, Velada, from the same traveling carnival he acquired Awbonnie. The girls' father, carnival master Eamon McCree, is willing to do business, but her step-brother, Reeves, protests, putting an end to the negotiation. Desperate, Prescott kidnaps Velada and promises her the means to be rid of her father in return for comforting Talbot out of his obsession. In Talbot's madness, he guards his wife's corpse, preventing her from passing to the beyond. As a result, Awbonnie's ghost begins haunting and cursing everyone involved in the transaction of selling her as a wife. Meanwhile, Reeves and Eamon search the prairie for Velada. Drunken Eamon several times wants to turn back and leave his daughter to her own devices, but Reeves refuses. At the site of a hunting party of Indians, Eamon panics and loses... Written by Shoomado

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

corpse | sister | horse | grief | tree | See All (59) »


Justice can never be silenced.


Drama | Horror | Western

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for ghostly terror and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| | |


Release Date:

27 January 1995 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

American Legacy  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$61,274 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is River Phoenix's last completed film. His next film was 'Dark Blood' with Judy Davis and Jonathan Pryce, but he overdosed and died before production was completed. See more »


Velada McCree: My sister is sending you her thoughts.
Prescott Roe: Your sister is dead.
Velada McCree: She is my mother's weapon. She's moving on you now with vengeance.
See more »


The Man at the Plough
Traditional music arranged by the Red Clay Ramblers
See more »

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User Reviews

Phenomenal ghost story. Very theatrical in tone.
19 May 2001 | by (Seattle, WA ~ USA) – See all my reviews

Sam Shepard, the writer/director of "Silent Tongue," is one of the big names in contemporary American theatre. So it comes as no surprise that his two feature films (also, "Far North") have a distinctly theatrical tone. General audiences may not have a taste for his style, but Shepard's films richly reward multiple viewings for the open-minded.

"Silent Tongue" is a ghost story which uncovers a disturbing sickness at the heart of the Old West. River Phoenix becomes mentally unhinged when his Native American bride dies in childbirth. This sends his father, Richard Harris, on a journey to try and find another woman for his son. Exhibiting tragically limited imagination, the father returns to the traveling circus where he traded horses for the first woman, and he attempt a second bargain for the woman's sister. In the end, the sister must confront the dead woman's ghost, and we learn the dark secret of their past.

Phoenix is eerily convincing as the mad Talbot Roe, and Richard Harris is uncharacteristic low-key as the world-weary Prescott Roe. Dermot Mulroney, unable to make his character's diction convincing, is perhaps the film's only casting error.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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