THUNDERHEART is a thoughtful, atmospheric thriller set on a North Dakota Native American reservation in the 1970s. Loosely based on a real-life incident, the film involves a series of murders, a deadly, government-backed uranium mining operation, and the attempts of a group of American
Indian activists to protect their land and culture.
Val Kilmer stars as Ray Levoi, a one-quarter Sioux F.B.I. agent who is assigned to the murder investigation as a token Indian (the natives mockingly refer to him as the "Washington Redskin"). His partner, tough old-timer Frank "Cooch" Coutelle (Sam Shepard), is more interested in making a quick
arrest than in getting to the root of the situation. Levoi, though, suspects the case is more complex than it seems. Influenced and impressed by some of the Indians (particularly savvy native cop Walter Crow Horse, winningly played by Graham Greene), he overcomes his initial embarrassment about
his Indian blood and discovers the meaning of his heritage. As he uncovers a trail of conspiracy and corruption, Levoi is forced to decide where his true sympathies lie.
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