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

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.



(screenplay), (book)
1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Sharon Bajer ...
JJ Harper
Jack Blum ...
Harvey Pollock, QC
David Brown ...
Det. Spooner
Harlan Bruyere ...
Inspector Ken Dowson
Constable Bill Issac
Paul Christie ...
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.
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User Reviews

My thoughts on the JJ Harper murder
23 January 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I grew up in Winnipeg and saw the treatment of the natives almost everyday. There are good and bad in EVERY race, why make them all out to be bad? That goes for all races today. John Harper was an educated man, he graduated from high school, he even had a year of university under his belt before going back to the reserve. How do I know this? John Harper lived with my family for the 3 years he was in high school, and he kept in contact with us the year after graduation. He was a kind and gentle soul, he could be fun loving and he could be serious when the times were right. I wasn't very old when he left our house, but I can still remember all the times he helped me with my homework when my own brother couldn't be bothered. He even taught grade 3 the year before he came to Winnipeg. None of this is mentioned in the movie, and the suicide of constable cross is an admission of guilt as far as I'm concerned. What happened to John is unforgivable, not only in the native community, but also in the white community. Not everyone in Winnipeg think like the police do, I knew the person inside, and what he was like as a PERSON, not an Indian!

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