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Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007)

TV-14 | | Drama, History, Western | TV Movie 27 May 2007
A chronicle of how American Indians were displaced as the U.S. expanded west. Based on the book by Dee Brown.



(screenplay), (based on the book by) (as Dee Alexander Brown)
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Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 29 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ohiyesa / Young Charles
Henry Dawes
President Ulysses S. Grant (as Fred Thompson)
Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse ...
One Bull (as Nathan Chasing Horse)
Wayne Charles Baker ...
Brian Stollery ...
Bishop Whipple
Billy Merasty ...
Young Man Afraid
Morris Birdyellowhead ...
American Horse
Chasing Crane


In the 1880s, after the U. S. Army's defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the government continues to push Sioux Indians off their land. In Washington, D.C., Senator Henry Dawes introduces legislation to protect Native Americans rights. In South Dakota, school teacher Elaine Goodale joins Sioux native and Western-educated Dr. Charles Eastman in working with tribe members. Meanwhile, Lakota Chief Sitting Bull refuses to give into mounting government pressures. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Epic Fall of the American Indian


Drama | History | Western


TV-14 | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

27 May 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Untitled Wounded Knee Project  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


August Schellenberg previously played Sitting Bull in both Witness to Yesterday (1970) and Crazy Horse (1996). See more »


During the scene in the barn where Aidan Quinn's character was making the 50-cent per acre offer, breath could be seen coming from the Lakota (certainly CGI) but none from the soldiers. See more »


Charles Eastman: And now you speak of coercion. I don't understand.
Henry Dawes: If we don't put that land into the hands of individual Indians in five years- less-homesteaders and ranchers will demand it all... for nothing. The Indian must own his own piece of earth, Charles.
Charles Eastman: Did you know that there is no word in the Sioux language for that, sir?
Henry Dawes: For what?
Charles Eastman: To "own the earth." Not in any native language.
Henry Dawes: Well, then perhaps you should invent one.
See more »


Featured in The 59th Primetime Emmy Awards (2007) See more »


Happy Times
Written by Gabe Desrosiers
Performed by Wayne Charles Baker
See more »

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User Reviews

Must they adapt to the extent of their own extinction!
20 February 2008 | by (Brooklyn NY USA) – See all my reviews

The trail of tears that lead to the massacre at Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890 started in the Summer of 1876 at the Little Big Horn. It was there where Gen. George Armstrong Custer and over 250 men under his command was slaughtered to the last man, the only survivor of Custer's troop being a calvary horse called Comanche, by the fired up Sioux Indians.

Wanting revenge for what turned out to be the worst defeat that the US Calvary suffered in the Indian Wars the "Great White Father" President Ulysses S. Grant, Fred Thompson, sent a much bigger military detachment headed by, as he's called by the Sioux, Gen.Bear-Coat to put a final end to the Dakota Indian uprising. Confronting Chief Sitting Bull, August Schellenberg, and his some three thousand warriors at Ceder Valley Creek Gen. Bear-Coat had no trouble dispersing the Sioux onslaught mowing down hundreds of Sitting Bull's men with volleys of rifle and cannon fire.

Dispersed and on the brink of starvation Sitting Bull's rival Chief Red Cloud, Gordon Tootoosis, was forced to sign away his peoples rights to where they became wards of the state living off the kindness and charity of the hated White Man. Sitting Bull wanting none of this took his followers to Canada where after suffering through a number of harsh Canadian Winters, far worse then any of the winters in the Dakota Territories, later came back hat in hand accepting the unthinkable: living under the White Man's both rule and law. It was the deception and manipulation by the US Government in trying to force Sitting Bull and his people to sign away their ancestral lands that eventually lead to the wild and hysterical events that lead to Wounded Knee.

The story of "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" is told to us through the personal observations of Charles Eastman, Adam Beach, formerly known by his Sioux Indian name of Ohiyesa. Eastman was an 18 year old at the battle of Little Big Horn where he earned his warrior's feather in killing a horse soldier of Gen. Custer's 7th Calvary in the fighting. Now grown up and earning a medical degree Eastman only wants to help his fellow Sioux in preventing a number of deadly outbreaks of disease that hit his former home the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Together with his white European wife the former Elaine Goodale, Anna Paguin, Eastman worked around the clock trying to save what he could of the many Sioux Indians who were dying by the hundreds of both hunger and disease. With Eastman's good friend Massachusetts Senator Henry Drew, Alden Quinn,trying to get his people to come to some agreement with the US Government in becoming farmers instead of nomads, which the Sioux were for countless centuries, tensions soon reached a breaking point.

It was when out of sheer desperation the Sioux adopted the ancient Indian Ghost Dance, which was only ceremonial and nothing else, that the US Army was dispatched to put an end to what the Federal Government back in Washington D.C perceived to be another potential Little Big Horn. With tempers flaring on both sides after Chief Sitting Bull was murdered by the reservations Sioux police it was only a matter of time for the lid, that both Eastman and Senator Drew tried to keep on, blew off and the results was the massacre at Wounded Knee. The last major battle between the US military and American Indians in the long and bloody US/Indian Wars of the 1800's.

Pretty accurate film about how the American Indians were treated and how they had their land which they never really claimed to own, the idea of a person owning a piece of land was unknown to them, from right under noses. Despite the many losses they suffered at the hands of the US Military the Sioux never relinquished their claim to the Black Hills, which they considered their sacred and holy grounds. Technically and legally even now, some 118 years after the Wounded Knee massacre, the historic Black Hills are in the hands of the Sioux tribes still living there.

P.S Charles Eastman aka Ohiyesa was to write dozens of books and articles about his people the Sioux Indians as well as practice medicine at the Pine Ridge, as well as other, Indian reservation until he passed away on January 8, 1939 at the age of 80. Eastman among his many accomplishments in the service of his people was also the co-founder of the American Boy Scouts that improved and enriched the lives of American youths white black yellow and Native American Indian alike.

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