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Sacred Ground (1983)

In 1861 Oregon, a mountain man and his Native American wife live in a cabin built on a Paiute burial site, leading to a violent dispute with the local tribe.


Charles B. Pierce


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim McIntire ... Matt Colter
L.Q. Jones ... Tolbert Coleman
Jack Elam ... Lum Witcher
Mindi Miller ... Wannetta
Eloy Casados ... Prairie Fox (as Elroy Phil Casados)
Serene Hedin ... Little Doe
Vernon Foster Vernon Foster ... Wounded Leg
Lefty Wild Eagle Lefty Wild Eagle ... Medicine Man
Larry Kenoras Larry Kenoras ... Brave Beaver
Franklin Fritz Franklin Fritz ... Baby Colter
Danny Wilson Danny Wilson ... Lone Brave
Leslie Anderson Leslie Anderson ... Warrior
Ben Mitchell Ben Mitchell ... Warrior
Jerald Jackson Jr. Jerald Jackson Jr. ... Warrior
Ronnie Wilson Ronnie Wilson ... Warrior


This movie tells the fact-based story of a mountain man and his Native American wife who happen upon a partially built cabin and finish it for their own home, not realizing that they occupy a sacred burial ground. A Paiute burial party clashes with the couple and in the ensuing skirmish, the wife is fatally wounded while in the middle of childbirth. Bitter over her loss and needing a wetnurse for his baby, he steals one of the Paiute women who had just lost a baby. In this modern version of Helen of Troy, the battle is on, as he takes on the whole band in a desperate attempt to survive. Written by Dale Roloff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Born among the dead ... Claimed by a Paiute nation ... His child became sacred !


Drama | Western


PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

28 January 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Am heiligen Grund See more »

Filming Locations:

Chiloquin, Oregon, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Wilderness Family Inc. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Stereo | Mono (Ryder Sound Services)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

"You know I don't understand everything about your people! You've gotta make me understand!"
28 November 2016 | by utgard14See all my reviews

A white trapper (Tim McIntire) and his pregnant young Apache bride (Serene Hedin) unknowingly build a home on a Paiute burial ground. The Paiutes don't like it. After some stuff happens, the trapper turns to crazy old Jack Elam for help. Not half-bad little western from Charles B. Pierce, best known for The Legend of Boggy Creek. Pierce clearly had an interest in all things Native American as he made a handful of westerns and, of course, the cult classic Vikings vs. Indians movie, The Norseman. One thing I can say about Pierce is that his movies intrigue me, even if they don't always fire on all cylinders.

The main selling point of this one is the pretty scenery. The cast isn't terrible, either. Tim McIntire plays our "hero" and his performance is something else. Half the time he appears to be ad-libbing but it could just be that he forgot his lines and they didn't do multiple takes. Either way it adds a crudeness to his performance that winds up helping the film more than it probably should have. Vets Jack Elam and L.Q. Jones are fine in their scenery-chewing roles. Serene Hedin is lovely but not the greatest actress. She would make two more films with Pierce, including the notorious stinker Boggy Creek II.

This isn't something I'd ever want to watch again but it's not bad. It's a little slow-going and the plot is hardly original but, as is often the case with Pierce movies, there are enough interesting things going on to keep my attention.

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