Dances With Wolves   1990

Director: Kevin Costner

Main Characters/Players:
Lieutenant John Dunbar: Kevin Costner
Stands With a Fist: Mary McDonnel
Wind in His Hair: Rodney Grant
Kicking Bird: Graham Greene

Plot Summary:

Lt. John Dunbar is a soldier in the Civil War. He is about to have his leg amputated, but before the "doctors" can take care of him, he leaves the operating table and rides out in front of the enemy guns, hoping to die by an enemy bullet, rather than live as a cripple. Under cover of the excitement his daring ride provokes, his fellow soldiers are able to cross the field and attack. In the course of trying to commit suicide, he becomes a hero, and is granted the post of his choice. He chooses to go West, before the wild untamed lands disappear into settlements.

Lt. Dunbar goes to Fort Hayes, and is sent from there to an outpost in Indian Territory. Sioux Indians visit the outpost stealthily, and afraid of becoming a target, Dunbar decides to visit their camp openly. On the way he comes across a white woman in Indian dress who is apparently trying to commit suicide. He saves her and carries her back to the Indian camp. A cautious friendship begins betwen Dunbar and the Sioux.

Dunbar learns the Sioux language, helps them hunt buffalo, takes part in a fight with their enemies, the Pawnees, and becomes a part of the tribe when he is given his own lodge and an Indian name, "Dances With Wolves." He marries the woman, whose name is "Stands With A Fist," and becomes a good friend of the warrior "Wind in His Hair" and of the medicine man "Kicking Bird." Dunbar leaves (deserts) his old senseless life, and prepares to live with the Indians in the new life he has come to love.

But just as the Sioux are moving to their winter camp, Dunbar remembers he has left behind a diary which could betray where he has gone. So he returns to the fort, only to find that new soldiers have come. He is spotted and taken in. Because he is in Indian dress, he is beaten, regarded as a traitor, and kept in chains. On the way to a trial at Fort Hayes (where he will probably be hung), he is rescued by his Sioux friends. After a rest in the winter camp, he makes the difficult decision to take "Stands With A Fist" and leave. Dunbar knows the soldiers will keep hunting him until they find him. If they do, they will undoubtedly take him to trial and kill the rest of the tribe.

As the movie ends, we read that indeed it was only 13 years later that the last free band of Sioux surrendered to the American government.