Based on the biography Lakota Woman, this made-for-cable film tells the story of Mary Crow Dog and her gradual emergence into political consciousness and activism. The film traces the major events of her life but focuses on her participation in a stand-off between local and federal
authorities at Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1973.
The young Mary (Dawn Lavand) is born on the Rosebud reservation in South Dakota and comes of age in the shadow of the suffering of her ancestors. She is sent to a Christian mission school, where her braids are cut off and the teachers attempt to anglicize her. She becomes a troubled teen who, when
unable to find work, turns to drinking and recklessness. Beaten and strung out in a jail cell, an older Mary (Irene Bedard) meets Spencer (Pato Hoffman) who first tells her of AIM, the American Indian Movement, and its intention to reclaim stolen land and fight for the rights of Indians.
With Dick Wilson (August Schellingberg) and his boys running her hometown, Indian lives have become valueless in the face of the law and recourse to justice in the courts is reserved for whites. When the leaders of AIM arrive to address this situation, Wilson and his gang go on the offensive,
setting off a battle which climaxes when AIM followers head en masse for Wounded Knee, the site of the 1890 massacre of their ancestors. Federal agents, negotiators, and an army of journalists converge on the scene for a stand-off lasting more than two months. Mary gives birth at Wounded Knee and
after a short run as a martyr in a jail cell, is heralded as a brave and heroic woman.
Good intentions aside, the film is corrupted by a terrible script incorporating absurdly stoic voice-over narration by Mary. The acting and character development are so weak that it is impossible to remember or care about people as they change and grow over time. The film fails to present a
dynamic historical context, and, instead, resorts to expressing the anguish and anger of American Indians in traditional archetypes of nobility and righteousness, rather than probing more deeply beyond the cliches into the complex subtleties of the subject. (Violence, adult situations.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: Based on the biography Lakota Woman, this made-for-cable film tells the story of Mary Crow Dog and her gradual emergence into political consciousness and activism. The film traces the major events of her life but focuses on her participation in a stand-off… (more)