by Jack Nilan            EMail :

Sacred Ground (1983)

Jack   D

IMDB    6.1

Tribe(s) :

Language :
English, Paiute



The movie starts with :

'This film is respectfully dedicated to Chief Edison Chiloquin who so courageously kept a ceremonial fire burning for over six years on the banks of the Sprague River where he was keeper of the sacred ground for which this movie is named and where it was filmed. On December 5, 1980 the United States Congress passed the historic Chiloquin Act, setting aside this tract of land where Indian culture and tradition could be preserved for all people to learn forever.'

   Based on a true story, set in 1861 Oregon, this B movie tells the tale of a mountain man, Matt Colter, and his pregnant Indian wife, Little Doe. When a trader shows Matt a Henry repeating rifle he is determined to get one, but he needs twenty dollars. Matt and Little Doe come upon a partially built cabin and decide to make it their own. They do not realize that the cabin is situated on Paiute burial ground, and the land is sacred to the Indians.

   When the Indians show up, they try to warn Matt off the land, but he doesn't understand what they are saying. Matt and Little Doe figure out they are on sacred ground, but Little Doe begins to give birth before they can get out of there.The Indians pull the house down on top of Little Doe, and she dies, but the baby is born.

   When Matt finds out there is a Paiute woman who has recently had a child, and would be able to feed his, he goes and gets Wannetta. The Paiutes follow and eventually get Wannetta and the baby, leaving a wounded Matt behind. The Paiutes kick Wannetta out, thinking she had joined up too willingly with Matt. Matt goes back to the traders and gets the repeating rifle. When the Indians attack he wipes them out. The Indians have no chance. The repeating rifle has really tipped the scales.

   When the Indians come with the baby, they get Matt to let his guard down. They capture him, but Wannetta gets then to set him free by threatening to burn down the sacred ground burial ground. Matt and Wannetta and the baby go off together in the end.

   Not really too well done. Weak story, acting and writing. Didn't really learn much about Indians or mountain men. Probably not worth seeing.