10 user 2 critic

A Thief of Time (2004)

Officers Leaphorn and Chee search for a missing anthropologist suspected of stealing artifacts from a burial site.


Chris Eyre


Alice Arlen (teleplay), Tony Hillerman (novel)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Farmer ... Captain Largo
Adam Beach ... Jim Chee
Ernest Tsosie III ... Dispatcher Clem Allison
Wes Studi ... Joe Leaphorn
Sheila Tousey ... Emma Leaphorn
Kelly Byars Kelly Byars ... Delbert Tsosie
Alex Rice ... Janet Pete
Beth Grant ... Ranger Mildred Luna
Natowa Garcia Natowa Garcia ... Larry
Kenneth White Eagle Wings Kenneth White Eagle Wings ... Pete Etcitty
Dawn Lewis Dawn Lewis ... Maxie Davis
Graham Greene ... Slick Nakai
Lee Tergesen ... Randall Elliot
Susan Conklin Susan Conklin ... Marcia
David House David House ... Dumont's Butler


An anthropologist, Ellie Friedman-Bernal, is suspected of selling ancient Anasazi pottery on the black market. Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee are sent to investigate. Ellie's hyper-competitive colleagues, Maxie Davis and Randy Elliott, claim to be clueless about her whereabouts. Hailing from a hard-scrabble farm, Maxie is an improbable success at the academic game, while East-Coast patrician Randy is more at home as a scholar. Ellie's cryptic notes lead Leaphorn and Chee to preacher/fencer Slick Nakai, and his musician/accomplice Pete Etcitty, who later turns up dead--along with another pot poacher. Then there are the rich, unsavory collectors Richard DuMont and local rancher Harrison Houk, who was the last person to see Ellie alive. If the mystery is to be solved, some nettlesome questions need to be answered: Why did Ellie trade a saddle for a kayak just before she disappeared? Why does the crippled Houk himself own a kayak? And what's that hunched-over form in the ... Written by Lew Amack (LAlawMedMBA@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Some secrets should stay buried.




Did You Know?


When Chee falls down the embankment his flashlight is clearly left behind, but after standing up below he turns on a flashlight See more »


Joe Leaphorn: You watching that hokey cooking show again?
Emma Leaphorn: It relaxes me.
Joe Leaphorn: I think you got something going for that guy. You'd tell me if I got something to worry about anything, right?
See more »


Follows The Dark Wind (1991) See more »

User Reviews

What a MESS!!!!
5 March 2005 | by RipshinSee all my reviews

Being a big fan of this PBS series, I am shocked at how awful this "episode" actually is. The direction is pedestrian, the supporting cast is TERRIBLE, and our favorite characters are extremely uninteresting. As others have stated, I do believe this third film actually takes place BEFORE the second in the Hillerman series on PBS.

Perhaps it is Hillerman's original material, I don't know, but this latest edition could possibly kill future Leaphorn/Chee adaptations. The previous "Coyote Waits" is far, far superior. Frankly, I am shocked by how much I hated this film. It is totally off-the-mark in every way. Even it's one-sided portrayal of Christianity is offensive. (And, yes, it IS biased.)

I hope they film more in the series, because this would be a terrible conclusion.

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English | Esperanto

Release Date:

11 July 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Il ladro del passato See more »

Filming Locations:

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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