Set in Kansas during the early 1900s, a teen-aged Native American boy (newcomer Winter Fox Frank) is taken from his family and forced to attend a distant Indian "training" school to ... See full summary »
Set in Kansas during the early 1900s, a teen-aged Native American boy (newcomer Winter Fox Frank) is taken from his family and forced to attend a distant Indian "training" school to assimilate into White society. When he escapes to return to his family, Sam Franklin (Wes Studi), a bounty hunter of Cherokee descent, is hired to find and return him to the institution. Franklin, a former Indian scout for the U.S. Army, has renounced his Native heritage and has adopted the White Man's way of life, believing it's the only way for Indians to survive. Along the way, a tragic incident spurs Franklin's longtime nemesis, the famous "Indian Fighter" Sheriff Henry McCoy (J. Kenneth Campbell), to pursue both Franklin and the boy. Written by
After accidentally catching this fine film, I found myself seeking a copy to show in the U.S.History courses that I teach. While not Native myself, I do find that you cannot understand the problems of the modern US without taking a close look at the status of Blacks and Native Americans in a land built on the concepts of freedom, respect for culture and equality. The period detail is excellent. The archival images included in the film are striking and well thought out. The acting and plot elements very appropriate and excellently developed. The characters are complex and a very good representation of how individuals of that time would have functioned. The topic and supportive info detail an environment and actions by citizens, commercial parties and the government that are amongst the worse in US History. While I could see how some who would, by cultural background be forced to relate to the negative characters in the film, might desire to keep these types of events buried in the past. Exposure helps explain why we still have much to overcome if this society is ever really going to effectively blend.
I recommend this for open-minded individuals who appreciate good historical fiction. Those leaning more towards revisionism might want to pull out their favorite copy of "Birth of a Nation" or "They Died with Their Boots On" (Good movies, but get real!
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