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Cowboys and Indians: The J.J. Harper Story (2003)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama  -  5 October 2003 (Canada)
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J.J. Harper, a First Nations chief, is gunned down by police constable Robert Cross on his way home one snowy night in downtown Winnipeg.



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Title: Cowboys and Indians: The J.J. Harper Story (TV Movie 2003)

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Credited cast:
Sharon Bajer ...
JJ Harper
Jack Blum ...
Harvey Pollock, QC
Det. Spooner
Harlan Bruyere ...
Inspector Ken Dowson
Constable Bill Issac
Sergeant Osepchuk
Reporter #2
Stephen's Assistant
Constable Robert Cross
Richard Hurst ...
Chief of Police Herb Stephen
Anthony Lambert-Whitford ...
Little Billy
Melissa LeClaire ...


Based on the true story of J.J. Harper, a First Nations leader, who was shot and killed by Winnipeg Police Constable Robert Cross on his way home one snowy night in in 1988. As the guilt-ridden Cross descends into madness, J.J. Harper's brother, Harry Wood, supported by native leaders; cries out for justice through legal channels. The police close ranks to ensure that Cross is never prosecuted for the crime. Written by Robb Mavins

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Release Date:

5 October 2003 (Canada)  »

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Did You Know?


[Joe and Harry are standing over J.J.'s grave]
Harry Wood: I don't know what to say.
Joe: Just tell him, we did the best we could.
Harry Wood: J.J., we did the best we could.
Harry Wood: He says, bullshit.
See more »

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User Reviews

A star making performance by Eric Schweig.
6 October 2003 | by (Red Earth, Saskatchewan) – See all my reviews

The real life case of an innocent First Nations chief(the Indian) by an Winnipeg city officer(the Cowboy) is the basis of this TV movie. The actual case caused its fair share of racial tension in Canada, a small scale Martin Luther King thing. The misjustice of First Nations people is becoming a staple in the Canadian cinema diet. What makes this film worth viewing is the focus on the family's reactions. The father played by Gordon Tootoosis demands forgiveness and the brother played by Eric Schweig demands justice. The stars Gordon Tootoosis and Adam Beach(WINDTALKERS, SKINWALKERS)have minor, almost cameo, appearances. Soon-to-be star Eric Schweig makes his mark in this film with a powerful performance. An honourable mention goes to veteran actor Gary Chalk who has chalked up over 100 movies to his credit. His portrayal of the troubled soul Inspector Dowson was worthy of a Gemini Award(the Canadian Emmy)along with Eric Schweig. The special effects(jump cuts, dream sequences) are occasional and not overbearing. Couple this with some beautiful northern Canadian scenery and recent ongoing events involving police officers and First Nations people like the Neil Stonechild case, and you have a very rewarding and relevant viewing experience.

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