by Jack Nilan            EMail :

Into the West (2005)

Jack   B-

IMDB    8.0

Tribe(s) : Sioux (Lakota)

Language : English , Sioux, Mojave



   Set in the first half of the 19th century, the ten hour TBS mini-series follows the stories of frontiersman Jacob Wheeler and Loved By the Buffalo, a Dakota Indian.
   Jacob in the course of his travels marries Thunder Heart Woman, who is Loved By the Buffalo's sisters, and the two stories join together.

   I think the movie did a really good job with the Indians languages. They refrained from having the Indians speak broken English. They also showed the dilemma that the Indians faced : try to stay true to the old ways (and possibly be crushed by their neighbors) or take on the white man's ways and technology, and maybe lose their souls.

   The movie also showed how some whites, even captives, decided that living the Indian life style was a better way of life. There were many instances in history where the captives decided to stay, rather than return to their families.

   The movie is really about the destruction of th Indian culture. The Indians had hard choices , but really there were no good ones they could have made. To fight, to assimilate all paths led to their destruction.

   The movie goes on to show the massacre at Wounded Knee, where the series characters show up.

   There are some beautiful scenes and great production values, but the movie suffers the fatal flaw of trying to do too much. By trying to cover so much, from both points of view, it loses its dramatic effect.    Overall, the movie is just fair. It is way too long, and could have been done better in a third of the time. The movie does gain points for using Native American actors, language and for having a sympathetic view of Native American history.