On the night of February 27, 1973, a caravan of cars carrying 200 armed Oglala Lakota-led by American Indian Movement (AIM) activists-entered Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation and ... See full summary »
In South Dakota, in an Indian reservation, an old storyteller Indian asks his grandson Shane, who is in trouble owing money to some bad guys, to take his old pony and him to Albuquerque to ... See full summary »
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
Shaun Johnston as Col. Nelson Miles is shown at the signing of the Fort Laramie Treaty of April 29, 1868 wearing a Civil War Medal and an Indian Wars Medal. The first Civil War Campaign Medal was issued on May 26, 1909. The blue and gray ribbon shown in the film was not in use until August 12, 1913. The first Indian Wars Medal was issued July 15, 1908. The ribbon shown in the film with two dark bands was not in use until 1917. See more »
[after Custer and his men are massacred at the Battle of the Little Bighorn]
The man was a fuckin' idiot. Splits his forces? Daylight raid, high noon?
An idiot, perhaps, but he had his orders, Mr. President. Drive the Sioux out of the Black Hills onto the ration rolls, so we could get to that damn gold. The Sioux resisted.
They *resisted*, General Sherman.
President Ulysses S. Grant:
Blocking a roundhouse to the chin is "resistance", Henry. Massacring five companies of cavalry...
I am not defending ...
[...] See more »
I'm rarely if ever disappointed by any movies HBO makes, but I was disappointed enough with wasting two hours on this one that I felt compelled to say something. Anyone looking for a moving account of a profoundly tragic and shameful event in American history ought to keep looking. Don't get me started...
OK, fine! If I came into this film with no understanding of how the US Government screwed the Sioux out of their land (and this was the case), I still have no idea how, when, where, or why this happened. Which land? Why was it so precious to them? Why did the US want it? What were the specifics of the homestead program we tried to impose? Why didn't the Sioux just take the money? The movie just throws you into the middle of their numerous town-hall sessions and expects you to know what's going on. The movie did nothing to capture the stark beauty of that land, the spirituality of the culture, didn't go far enough back to show you what they were missing, what they were trying to regain. It would have been nice to see a real buffalo hunt to recognize what a pathetic sham the reservation buffalo-hunt simulator was. The Sioux are just shown to be a bunch of stubborn, troublesome, raggedy refugees, so the sympathy just isn't there.
How does Adam Beach keep getting work? I realize there's probably a scarcity of Native American actors out there, but this guy's the center of your story and he's got the emotional range of a light switch. He was awful in WINDTALKERS and he's awful here. You can really sense how lost he is playing off Anna Paquin and Aidan Quinn.
What the heck was with those little photo-montage-transition thingies? The movie was slow enough without the director throwing those pictures in there to help bring it to a screeching halt multiple times. It's as if he was just trying to give a shout-out to the makeup people and casting agents: "Ooooh, look how we made this guy look like THAT guy! Yay for us!" If anything, it just helped embalm his story even more by tying it to the past with semi-relevant old tintypes instead of making it live and breathe. Whatever else he was going for, I missed it.
Finally, we come to the climax(?) of the piece, the massacre itself, which is only recounted in a flashback, with no build-up, no clear nuts-and-bolts demonstration of the hate-whitey all-night rave parties thrown by the fed-up Sioux, and no clear motivation supplied by the men who sent in the soldiers. I'd have to watch it again, but they didn't even say how many people on both sides bought the farm, and it was an extremely bloody affair. If they were trying to present the whole story through the eyes of the doctor, I would have understood a back-handed recounting since he wasn't at the creek, but the movie switched narratives multiple times, so the directing and editing and even storytelling decisions don't build any tension at all. You could have had a Native American version of DO THE RIGHT THING here and you BLEW IT!!! One minute, everyone's huddled in blankets complaining about crummy treaties, and the next BAM!!! Dead, frozen Sioux.
What happened at Wounded Knee is the crowning nightmare in a catalog of infamies done to our Native American brothers. I wanted to be angry after watching this, maybe even choked up a bit. No dice. Perhaps the most affecting moment in the movie is a closing title saying the Sioux have never to this date taken a dime for the Black Hills, implying that they're still doin' the Ghost Dance, waiting for Whitey to destroy himself (won't be long) so they can just move back in. When a closing title is the most compelling thing in your film, you're in trouble.
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