Dances with Wolves

Dances with Wolves is a critically acclaimed film that was released in 1990 starring Kevin Costner and Mary McDonnell.  The film was adapted from Michael Blake’s novel of the very same title.  In fact, Kevin Costner encouraged Blake to take the book and make it into a screenplay for a full feature film.  Most of the movie was filmed in the state of South Dakota, with a few scenes taking place in Wyoming. 

The story follows the life of a young United States soldier fighting in the Civil War who gets separated from his troupe.  He eventually befriends a Native American tribe, although the friendship is strained by the fact that he is a solider.  In addition, Costner’s character, Lt. John Dunbar also makes friends with a wolf who has become attached to his camp.  The wolf has two white front paws, encouraging Dunbar to name his new friend “two socks.”

Once the Indian tribe begins to trust Dunbar, they see him playing with the wolf and thereby dub his Indian name “Dances with Wolves.”  Lt. Dunbar also falls in love with a woman who has been adopted by the Indian tribe, but is an American by blood.  Her Indian name is Stands with Fist, and she and Dunbar have a romance that results in their marriage, and his full acceptance into the tribe.  Together, Dunbar helps the tribe fight against the US troops, until he is discovered by his own, who feel that he has betrayed them.  He then has to fight for what he believes in, making the movie very emotional. 

Dances with Wolves won seven Oscars, and was nominated for additional five.  Kevin Costner directed the film, and it received a lot of positive critical acclaim and praise from both critics and the Native American community.   

Joseph Paige 2006

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