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the white man called them buffalo. we called them tatanka,the majestic ones. their story is the story of our people. tatanka lived in the underworld, until he saw our people in a vision.
arm and hammer pet hair removal, he saw that we were needy. and for the love of us. tatanka came up outof the earth and became flesh so that we could eat,make our clothes
and our dwellings from his hide. pte taoyate, he called us: the buffalo nation. - lakota village 1825 - the prairie opened up... ...like a dog mouth yawning. the hole was very big. i looked down into the darkness... ...and the buffalo went into the hole.
i saw the last buffalogo back into the earth. i saw our people starving... ...and living in square lodges. lakota people, growling bear is wrong. soaring eagle, a medicine man, could not acceptthe terrible vision of growling bear, that the buffalo would disappear and the lakotawould live in square houses. it would be good ifsoaring eagle was right.
- wheelerton, virginia 1825 - i suppose the best placeto begin our family's story is with grandsire abraham. many was the timeas a boy i listened to his tale of how a cannon subtracteda leg at the battle of yorktown. i'd have wagered both mineto see what he saw. my misfortune wasto be born in a drab age and to have livedin the stifle of a barn where a man was only as goodas the things he crafted.
wheelwrights we were, going back to thetime when they invented the damn thing. wheelers made wheels. but in my day, it seemedthe wheels made the wheelers. all the long day, i lived in my books. and by night. i dreamed of a better lifebeyond the mississippi. morning, enoch. - hi, papa. how are you?- good. - good.- nathan.
morning. now that is a thing of beauty. anybody see jacob? jacob? at your age i was repairingcannon wheels at valley forge. at least you got to seea bit of the world. the was the war.we had no choice. thank god you livein a time of peace. - yes, sir.- apply yourself to the anvil
and you're set for life. it takes ten years to makea journeyman wheelwright. another ten for master. you'll never lack for work.they need wheels in time of peace. they need wheels in time of... don't you sass me, young man! yes, sir. you boys knock off for lunch now. except jacob.you already had yours.
plough-horse needs shoeing out there. good morning. who do i see aboutreplacing a rifle cock? that'd be me, sir. if i may, sir,how did you come by that scar? difference of opinionwith a cheyenne warrior. savage thought my scalp mightlook better hanging from his belt. but... i favoured where god put it. but then i fanciedhis locks on my belt.
- may i?- sure. my goodness. - what in the sam hill is that?- whoa! sacred. grizzly. on its hind legs, 'bout wherethat first rafter starts. goodness gracious. must be hell out there. more like a garden of eden, son.
you come across some tribesthat give you the girls. you got mountainscovered with snow in summer. and forests that go on forever. rivers that youcan't hardly see across. sometimes you wait half a dayfor a buffalo herd to run past. big shaggy beast,three times a horse, horizon to horizon. then the pacific. unsullied by human hands,
as it was on theeighth day of the world. see if that'll work for you. thank you. did you finish shoeingthat plough-horse like i told you? it's a fine young man you got here. if he doesn't get knockedinto a cocked hat first. and you let the fire burn down too. we could have turned out another wheelbefore the end of the day, but not now. think you could puta sharper edge on this for me?
is that... human blood? arkansas toothpickain't for cutting your steak. so where are you headed, sir? o'er st. louis,meet up with mr jedediah smith. the jedediah smith? god made only one of himfor all of us to look up to. who's that? well, mr smith opened upthe deep west for trappers. looking for a few good mountain men
to explore the beaver populationsout around the great salt lake. how much can a manmake off of beaver? as long as they keep buyingbeaver hats in london and paris, upwards to four or five thousand a year. time for you to get back to work now. all of you. oh, now margaret,that is a fine-looking goose. - believe that beaver story?- not a word. sunday dinnerwas another form of labour
with my father enoch,my mother margaret,,, can we say grace first? ,,, my brothers ezra,nathan and jethro, for what we are about to receive... grandfather presided over the ritualwith grandmother hannah, the wheelers pounded ironsix days a week, but on the seventh,we pounded each other, president adams is saying to europe,"keep out. it's all ours." it needs another jeffersonto take it all.
but isn't the westjust one vast desert? a common untruth, mama. the west has all kinds of trade.it's a veritable garden of eden. yes, jacob's just returnedfrom the west wing of the house. jacob, in fact, has yet to discoverthe western side of the barn. as with all rituals,nothing ever much changed,,, ,,, until that sundaywhen i looked around the table and said my silent goodbyeto each and every wheeler, where are the buffalo?
heyoka, the clown,tried to lift their spirits after growling bear's dark vision, for the boy, white feather, there were only questions, he sought answers among his family, what you did was wrong, grandson. yes, grandfather. is the dream of growling bear true? white feather... eat.
but who killed the lakota? they just told you to eat. white feather was determined to discoverthe meaning of growling bear's vision, and if the future it predictedcould be changed, your dream... is it true? a man called drinks waterhad the same vision long ago. white feather did not have wordsto match what he knew to be true, but he knew that a visionwas a dangerous thing, he knew a vision could kill a man,
jacob! you hold up! - jacob!- jacob! jacob, wait! wait! so, what do you figure? just run out and not tell nobody,hope your scheme works out? i don't expect mr smith and mr fletcher are gonna - tarry in st. louis.- ma and pa? what do we tell them?
tell them i love them. i ain't got time to lose.i made my last wheel in wheelerton. why would a frontiersmenaccommodate you? ask and you shall receive. mr eternal optimist. nathan, i thought you hadmore enterprise in you. jethro, you've alwaysbeen a blade of grass: bends with the wind. - wait up.- no!
you'll be the first wheelersto give up the trade. you'll stay behind, pound on dead irontill you become as dead as iron. come on, jethro. now or never. oh, come on. white feather could not acceptgrowling bear's vision that the buffalo would not return, a ceremony was performed, the people dancedto give gratitude to tatanka,
and prayed that he would liveagain and again in the great circle of life, white feather! come!buffalo have come! to lead the buffalo to the jumpwas to taunt death, white feather knewthat his brothers, dog star and running fox, were chosenfor their ability and courage, he was proud of them,but afraid also, you have never jumped before.
when you run and jump,you must not stop. the run, jump, and swingmust be one. otherwise, you will notswing into the cave. help me! tatanka spared the boy, so on the day the boy's motherwas put to rest, white feather was renamedloved by the buffalo, and all agreedthat he had been called to walk the road of the medicine man,
let white feather be known asloved by the buffalo. one of my sons a holy man? that brings honour to the family. but soaring eagle killedgrowling bear with evil medicine. you give too much powerto soaring eagle. we must keep all eyes on this boy. and so loved by the buffalo took no food or drink in four days, he cleansed his body and mind
to open his spiritfor a vision to enter, tennesseethree months later stash the horses over there.wait till dark. - what the?- hey! hey! - get your black hands off of me!- let go of him. when he let go of me.when he let go of me! you're dead as mutton if you don't. so's your friend.
all right, i'm gonna let go.you let go. who's in there?you answer me, by god. just a couple of hungry boysout for some eggs, sir. how many are ya? just two of us in herestealing eggs, sir. regret to say the wolf in our stomachsovercame our god-fearing souls. you only had to knock onmy door to discover christian charity. had your fill of eggs to boot. we only took enoughto keep the wolf at bay, sir.
well, go on. take a few. had my hopes up, what with a big rewardfor a runaway slave. you don't say. how much was that reward? hundred silver dollars. with your permission,we'll be on our way. what about the? nathan! let... let the good christianman go back to his warm bed.
- thank you.- thank you heartily, sir. god bless, boys. what objection do you havewhen the thing stands between us and ruination is $ 7? man kept his word.i intend to keep mine. what man?he's a runaway. - that money's mine.- no, it's my rifle! poor as job's turkey. you won'teven bend down to pick up $100 - laying on the ground.- man's got to draw a line.
- he did the honourable thing.- you're a dreamer. - let go, nathan.- no! who made you captainof this enterprise? you won't be laughingwhen i catch you, boy. there goes our hundred silver dollars. damn you, jacob. stop running! nice shootin', farmer boy. see ya. st. louis, missouri1826
nice to see you.how are you? we'd been in st, louis long enoughto see the sights and then some, but it took more than a fortnightlonger to find what we'd come for, mr fletcher. mr fletcher! jacob wheeler!you remember my brother, nathan? yeah, i remember. you said you needed men, sir. yeah... i said i needed men.
mountain men. well, we'll pull our weight, sir. do you suppose you couldintroduce us to mr smith? we sure did come a long way. st. louis is... ...raining mountain men,jacob, my boy. nathan. seasoned men. men more indian than white. men who can speak apache,cheyenne
and mexican. nathan, hold on! sorry, jacob.maybe next time. where the hell you been? st. louis loves the brothers wheeler. i couldn't lose a hand. ten times i tried to quit,ten times they made me stay. i won this. it is an escritura,that's spanish for "deed."
i won that at poker too. it's a mere hundred acres in tejas. you 25, me 75. what do you say about that,brother jacob? tejas ain't evenin the united states, nathan. - so what?- they don't speak english. - they're catholics.- with a hundred acres, who cares? i made up my mind.i'm going with jedediah smith. you see that furry creature? that'sthe kind of man jedediah smith wants.
but who cares beans?we've found our fortune in tejas. - i want to see the pacific.- then what? i don't know. i got a bird in the hand in tejas. you're afterthe will-o'-the-wisp out west. with adventurers and criminals. i say we stick together. yeah, well,why should i stick with you? there's a reason why our fathergave you the grunt work
and me the precisemeasurements of wheel making. because you never had a head, exceptfor dreamin'. and here you go again. are you coming or not? i thought of our mother,vexed by her perfidious sons, always consoling herselfwith the notion that we had each other, but we didn't allow hereven that much comfort, i leave from the steamboatwithin the hour if you change your mind. nathan went south,and i went west, i put my best foot forwardand bought a new, old suit of clothes
for the occasion of meetingthe great jedediah smith, it was not easy to find mr smith because he endeavouredto stay upwind of me, and then suddenlyhe stood in front of me, well, i just want to see whatno white man has ever seen before. if a horse throws a shoe,i'm a first-rate farrier. been at it since i could pick upa hammer. - can you shoot?- i'm a hunter. it's my rifle. exactly what kindof game do you hunt?
rabbits and deer, sir. you ever kill a man? no, sir. i admire your spirit, boy. but only the best of the bestwill be chosen. so you go on home. nobody herewill think the worst of you. maybe next time around. with all due respect, sir,you ever kill a man?
my friend, mr smith cannot countthe savages that fell to his hand. well, you know what? it's pretty easyto kill a savage out to scalp you. but you ever hunt down aninnocent rabbit, done you no harm? cut it down in cold blood and eat it? nobody in wheelertonwould have believed it, i was riding with a legend, hearty as a buck, a crack shot, a walking encyclopaediaof indians and their strange habits,
mr smith was likeno man i ever knew, and i would never be the same, the buffalo jumpers,running fox and dog star, had their eyes on two sisters, but had to prove themselvesto a more dangerous opponent than stampeding buffalo, the small, skinned rabbit did not impressthe girls'protective father, these are good horses.
go inside. two brothers married two sisters and walked the path of old tradition, loved by the buffalostudied the power of plants, of roots and herbs, he learned how to curethe body and the spirit using songs and ceremonies, it may be the weather. or her lack of faith.
but the holy man did not knowall the powers the boy was given, loved by the buffalodiscovered he had the power to take another's pain upon himself, he knew the powerwas not his own, but that of wakan tanka, may our gratitude please you,soaring eagle. watch this. see? washtegla,
now watch this. see? enouk neo, pot. the gun is what we need. ten beaver skins for the pot. forty for the gun. i give 31 skins for both of them. thirty one beaver skins will do. and i'll give you more...
...if i can marry your daughter. lebeck is a good man. an alliance with the tradersis good for the lakota. rifles are what we want. thunder heart womanwould carry the medicine wheel that growling beargave to her brother, in it she would keepher family and her memories, and that gave her comfort, days passed into months,until i lost track of time altogether,
riding with mr smith, i sawthe grandeur and majesty of the west as few white men had ever seen it, colorado mr fletcher, is that path passable? path ain't even jack-assable. everywhere i looked i sawtreasures of immeasurable beauty, and i longed for my brothersto share them, - back!- get... mr... shoot him!
praise the lordfor providing our supper tonight. - amen.- praise the lord. get out of there, boys. - fetch my bag, mr wheeler.- yes, sir. - what do you need from it, sir?- i got it. - here we go.- all right. put my scalp... mr wheeler? thread the needle. sew it back on, son.
- go ahead.- i ain't never done nothing - like that before.- neither have i, son. - perhaps mr fletcher could...- i gave you an order, boy. thread that needleand sew my scalp back on. isn't this gonna hurt, sir? i believe it will, son. but i think it'll hurt the personbeing sewed more than the sewer. - mr fletcher?- yeah. fetch my bible, please.
- hold still, sir.- thank you, kindly. sorry, sir. oh, goodness! sorry it hurts you so much, son. montana territory that's right, darling.stretch them nice, you get a good price. loved by the buffalo beganto walk the path of a holy man, the way was long and dangerous, but for one who communeswith wakan tanka,
many things are possible, in the medicine wheel, loved by the buffalo learnedthe mysterious realities of life, he saw the sunand moon and seasons come and go in a circle, he saw that all true powermoved in a circle, how did you know to stand there? sierra nevadas when we descendedfrom the high sierras,
we came across a friendly tribe, they called themselves mohave, "the people who live along the river," and they called us "beaver-eaters," mr smith purchased horsesto replace those we consumed, one blanket. two knives. a gift. - eskesuka,- thank you. - maricopa.- maricopa.
maricopa. - maricopa!- it's just dandy! - dandy!- dandy! maricopa! - very dandy!- very dandy! dandy! you are a most unusual young man. i'm afraid not, sir. well, there they are down there.
what're you doing up here? seems like there was this tinyjedediah smith standing on my shoulder telling me to come up here with you. - i want to be like you, sir.- well, much obliged, son. you do me great honour. but you see, sir, i'm just a...ape of jedediah smith. i want to be like you,i really want to be like you, but there's a part of mei feel inside...
i wanna be back down there.what does that make me? it makes you a human being. just like the rest of us. are you tempted too, sir? come over here.sit down, boy. come over here. jacob. we're as humanas the least of them down there. but we're also more than that. "as a man thinketh, so he is."what do you think you are?
the lord fashioned usa little above the beast, a little below the angels. but he gave us the choice. and it's great, son. some of these men, they come west,they lose their souls. west is a place on the map,not a way to live. don't forget that. a man has to know his own mind. you might begin... your own journal. crow!
baby! lakota killed my brother! california he said that we are his prisoners. well, tell him that maybeit escaped his notice that he's outnumbered three to one. he said he would arrest usif there was a thousand of us. san gabriel mission,california dismount!
they're taking you to the governor. look after the men. the captain took mr smith away, "to make the governor'sacquaintance, " he said, under ordinary circumstances,we'd have welcomed the hospitality of the san gabriel padres, disarm them. but there was no mistakingthe fact that we were prisoners, they say they boughtthe horses from the indians.
i believe it.but that is the flea on the dog. the danger is that, for the first time,americans have come by land. if we free them, they will show otheramericans how to go to california. if we kill them, they say nothing. may god save us. our time among the mohavewas to cost us both dearly, the soldadoswanted to set an example, it didn't matter if the menthey brought in as horse thieves were innocent or guilty,indians were indians,
it was a powerful trialto watch the sun set day after day over the horizon i hadsacrificed home and family to reach, whether any of uswould live to see the wide ocean that had beenthe object of our expedition now depended on mr smith, - gentlemen!- mr smith! - i've got news for you.- where have you been? the governor has given us the most generous,but strict instructions.
we must depart as we came and never return on pain of death. we were forced to return east, i looked back and mademyself the solemn promise that one dayi would see california again, loved by the buffalo knewthat a vision from wakan tanka would direct the course of his life, white buffalo womanbrought us the sacred ceremonies so that we could askfor help in our troubles
and give thanksfor the gifts from wakan tanka, she taught us the sun dance, once we drank maricopawith the mohave and shared their women, but after we had left them, a party of beaver-eaters had attackedthe village and left it in flames, now we were forcedto run for our lives, move, jacob. come on! there! get in! hurry up!
you ok? you all right? be still. fire. fire! bully for you, young man. that should hold them off for a while. - mr fletcher.- yeah. the smoke is drifting. what's that mean?
it means there's a way out of here. i got a pang telling me,time to hang up the fiddle. hey, listen,you two just follow the smoke. and i'll... i'll keepour friends amused. ok? jacob! bring me my gun. listen, jacob... ...i want you to have that. no use any mohave gettin' itthat won't appreciate it. learn to use it, son.
things can getpretty personal out west. thank you, mr fletcher. jacob! light it! - jim.- yeah. you're a manof unfailing rectitude. remember me...to all the boys at the rendezvous. get going. get going! - mr smith, i can't do this.- of course you can.
it vents. now i'm stuck. i can't do this!i don't want to die like this! - mama!- jacob! the dancer stares into the sun,sunup to sundown, moving with the sun,dancing, tugging at his tether, pulling, twisting, trying to tearthe skewer through his skin, and when he sets himself free,
he is reborn to the world, he lays on a bed of sage and recites his visionto the holy man, if we'd never found this cave,it'd be all over. but in here, like this,we will die by inches, and nobody will ever hear from usagain, or know what happened. the lord revealed the caveas he sent a fish to save jonah when jonah was drowning. i don't need a sermonwhen i'm so afeared!
"the fear of the lordis the beginning of wisdom." take hold of my bootand move with me. the fish swallowed up jonah. and jonah did not know it was god who sent the fish to save him. and jonah cried out to the lordfrom the belly of the beast, "lord, i don't want to die like this!" now let us pray jonah's prayer.
"i cried by reasonof mine affliction unto the lord and he heard me. out of the belly of hell cried iand thou heardest my voice." now, repeat after me, jacob. - i will sacrifice unto thee...- i will sacrifice unto thee... ...with a song of thanksgiving....with thanksgiving. - salvation is of the lord.- salvation is of the lord. loved by the buffalo had seenhow a vision could kill its seeker, now he, too,had a terrible revelation,
a wooden hoop and a stone hoop. our medicine wheel. the wooden wheelmeets the stone wheel. and the wood breaks the stone. the vision is false. wood does notbreak stone. a trickster spirit... ...has possessedloved by the buffalo. the sickness of the spotted facecame to the lakota,
some believed it camefrom the white man, some were not as certain, my father is alsonear death with the pox. bring loved by the buffalo. be brave little brother. i'm going to get help. when loved by the buffalo fell ill,soaring eagle told the people,,, don't go. ,,, it was loved by the buffalothat brought the pox,
help me. our brother is dying. we ask you to take the pox from us. move! he told them to send the boy away, and only thenwould the sickness leave, but deep inside his dark thoughts, he hoped the sicknesswould take the boy, have no fear. how are you here, growling bear?
i am among the stars now. i come to say be strong. you were born to live a lifeto help your people. behold the future. growling bear made a songto fight the sickness, he gave it to loved by the buffaloto cure his brother running fox and any who believed, utah 1829 mr smith and ihad stared death in the face
and lived to tell the tale, we'd said our goodbyesand gone our separate ways, i decided to attend the rendezvous that mr fletcher had spoken ofwith such fondness, rob any chicken coops lately? - ben franklin.- jacob wheeler! - ain't this some pumpkins.- look at you. look at you!where the sam hill you been? i've been all over. come here!
i remember, i remember...i'll never forget that. i've been treed by grizzly bearsand tracked by blackfeet but never was so scaredas when i heard that farmer tell you about a rewardfor a runaway slave, no, sir. i sat in that coopwaitin' for you to give me up. sure 'nough... you never did. i thought about thatevery day since. i want to give you a hundredbeaver pelts as a token of my thanks. join us over here for a drink!
whiskey's just fine. here! we've got a young lakota girl. her name is thunder heart woman. she cooks andshe knows the fur trade. and she speaks good english. she's pleasant and agreeable. well, sometimes. biddin' starts at a hundred dollars.
one hundred! what've we got here? look here! looks like loveat first sight to me! well, i seemy old friend johnny fox survived another yearin the sierra nevada. all right, boys!anyone else in the bidding? two hundred! who's the greenhorn?
- three hundred.- four! don't do it! ben? you better talk to your friend. what is you thinkin'? johnny fox can whipyour weights in wild cats. you trying to buy a sister,peach fuzz? do you even knowwhat to do with her? i'm gonna set her freeand send her back to her people. sets her free? why?
you of all people know why. if i thought differentyou'd be back on that plantation. you backin' down? not for flapjacks or french ladies. then it's rifles at 20 paces. look what you donegot yourself into now. come on, little coward.come on! you keep on the move.even when reloadin'. make yourself small.
all right, lad. you will stand back-to-back,with unloaded rifles. and after ten paces, well... ...anything goes. one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten! - come on, jacob!- now, jacob!
come on, jacob. now, jacob! now! you want more! get your ear! kill him! come on! - my whiskey!- come on, jacob! time to go home, little boy. time to go back to mama. johnny, quit messin' around!
thunder heart woman! get ready to feel someof johnny fox's lightning. sold, boys! we must take out metal. who are you? i'm jacob wheeler, ma'am. well, now... by rights, this stuff is yours. is there enough thereto cover what i owe you?
oh, yeah! and then some. what's so funny? a true southern gentleman seein'a lady to her daddy's front door. even if it is a thousand miles across cheyenne,crow and blackfoot country. a great man once told me that the west is just a placeon the map, not a way to live. benjamin.
you take care. ma'am. what's wrong? i have... baby... ...somewhere on earth. crow took her. i pray she is not yet on ghost path. where spirits go. thirty beaver skins. running fox, what is that?
it was only thirty beaver skins. can you eat it? this is the white man's junk. this is no good. this is the hoop of woodi saw in my vision. so it's all true? how do i know that you are not thetrickster leading me into madness? give me a sign that you are true. need for a sign is forthe weak of faith.
you tell me that i was bornto walk a holy path. but how will i do that whensoaring eagle aims to kill me? perhaps you must leave the village. i don't want to leave.take this burden from me. give it to someone else.i want to stay. you must leave your familyand seek your vision. i don't understand. loved by the buffalo knew he hadbeen given the sign he asked for, he no longer questioned his sanity,
and understoodthat wakan tanka was guiding him, it's heyoka. heyoka makes us see wakan tanka.makes us laugh. arriving in thunder heart woman'svillage was like stepping into a dream, i had looked to findmy destiny in california, but it was in this place,among these people, that my life was to take a coursei had never imagined, i could not understand their words, but i could see the lovefor a long-lost daughter and sister,
and feel her relief in their embrace, she told them about her captivity, the fight with johnny fox, how i had risked my life to free her, i thought i understood her to saythe spirits had brought us together, and i figured, well, she must have been right about that, my father offers his possessions. well, tell himi just want to marry you.
sometimes, two peoplego to wilderness for two weeks. and they return,as husband and wife. we kinda already did that. this is making of relatives. take small bite. this meat, i place in mouth. from this day, my home, your home. and you, his son.
at first i didn't understandthe pain in my heart for thunder heart woman, then it hit me, her family was making me a relative while i know full well my folkswould never do the same for her, they'd call her a savage,,, ,,, soulless heathen, why do i feel so at homehere among these people? daquessen,
grab the wheel. it's heavy. help me unwrap it. take the rope off. this wheel will make my life easier. easier to dirty our campswith more white man things. you will always want more and more. enough! like that... then you go around, just like that.
we can save the rope. when i saw loved by the buffalo, i could not escapethe strange sensation that i knew him and he knew me, jacob is a relative. he saw my scar, and i saw hisand i imagined the force of the beast that thrust its head in his chest, in the wheel,loved by the buffalo saw the threat,
the danger coming from thepeople of the wooden wheel, but he could not say why, and he began to understandwhat growling bear meant: the webs madeby spiders to catch flies, something would entanglethe lakota in a time yet to come, you trick the ironto subdue the wood. your magic wrongs wakan tanka. does your god giveyou the wheel of wood and iron? no, no, justthe intelligence to make it.
he will show you a wheelmade by wakan tanka. great spirit gives one gift at birth. we are born, somewhere,on the medicine wheel. we are bornwith one of the great powers. wisdom, strength, big heart, braveness. loved by the buffalo left mewondering what i was born with
and what i had yetto acquire on the wheel, i would spend most of my lifelooking for the answer, there is big medicinein the tricking of the iron. the white man would stealthe power of wakan tanka. yes. if the white man hasthe power of wakan tanka... ...your vision will come to pass,our ways destroyed. can your vision be changed? you must never stop trying.
that is not what i asked. the time had come to move the camp, the grandparents of thunder heartwoman chose to remain behind, to make their final journey together, why? why can't she come with us? she will not leave her husband. we must respect their wishes. for the first time i stood in aweof everything that god made, i couldn't look at a tree anymoreand see so many board feet of timber,
couldn't look at a beaver lodgeand see so many pelts, now, i saw little miracles, we had the wheel thattakes you from here to there, but they have a wheelthat takes you to the stars, we had a good life. the circle is now complete. soaring eagle knewhe had lost his place, for the first time in his life,he knew the true meaning of fear, and loved by the buffaloleft his family,
so that he might livefor all the people, this was the price of his gift, to pursue his journeyto change the terrible vision of growling bear, tatanka made us what we are, a buffalo nation. so long as the buffalo ran,our nation was strong. lakota village,buffalo nation 1836 from tatanka we took our food,
our clothing, our shelter. then the whites came and brought strangenew things with them. they traded with our enemiesthe crow and other tribes. we lakota traded little with the whites. this caused anger among some of us. our rivals are gainingadvantage over the lakota by trading with whites.
we must go to their fort where much trade takes place. perhaps my olderbrother sees the wisdom of this new hunting ground. the white man's road is goodfor the white man. but lakota ways are god-given. what will you do when thecrow and cheyenne come with new rifles? you will die
and they will have yourwomen and children. no! i will trust the great spirit and fight with lance and arrow. we must be more like whites if we are to resist the whites! and what good is resisting if wehave already lost ourselves? i have lost nothing! i speak as i doto save our people! your voice is the voice of death!
behave yourselves! i believe the great spirit is with us. if we become white so that we can cook in iron pots we will lose our ways. i will go to the whites with my clan and you will see howour people can thrive. fort william
wheelerton, virginia i had passed many joyous yearsamong thunder heart woman's people, but with the start of my family, i felt a strong yearningto return to the place of my birth, so our daughter,margaret light shines, would know somethingof her father's world. just who might you be? this is the wheeler house,is it not? we don't know any indians.
are you cousin rachel? daughterof benjamin and abigail wheeler? i'm naomi, rachel's younger sister. my god! i thoughtyou were still a child. i'm jacob,your father's my uncle. we're cousins. this is my family. well, i'll be... we heard from nathan.a letter. he's in texas.
he's married to... a mexican. well, texas is getting settled now,thanks to folks like nathan. be proud of nathan, mother.he helped whip santa anna. i just wish he'd come back home,even if it's just a visit. would it be proper if my wifewere to take his seat for now? oh, yes. yes, of course. and light shines beside you. what's that? this is a very special giftfrom my bride.
lord, you have blessed us this daywith the return of my son, jacob. thank you, lord,and perhaps someday you will guide our otherlost child, nathan, to us so that he can beat this table with us, and we can all break breadas a family once again. - amen.- amen. here you are,wakin-yan-techate. wakin-yan-techate translates as thunder heart woman.
what is ityou intend to do, jacob? what we've always done. what we all do.be a wheelwright. that is, if you'll allow me, father. of course i'll allow you. business isn't as it was, bank failures and all. people barter for services nowadays. but we'll get by.
bunk here until thingsturn for the better. your squaw feel the same? don't call her my squaw.she's my wife. my woman, my missus. ain't nothin' dirty about it. i lived with her people,hunted buffalo with them. i learned to honour their ways. they made me one of their sacred own. - i hope you'll do the same for her.- we'll do our best.
it may take time. it's a boy! she didn't cry out. not a bit. how's that possible? leah, indians aren't human.they don't feel pain like we do. they're heathens. i will name him... ...after grandfather. abraham.
and his indian namewill be high wolf. one thing i can't get out of my headare those california oranges. this big. bright and shiny.grow everywhere. boy, i miss them. then why'd you come home? mexicans pushed us out. but people pushing back. just like texas, caiifornia'slike a virgin looking for a husband. it's gonna draw folks,no matter what them dons do.
could be a positive thing for a man,to be part of it all, help settle the country. brother nathan stuck it out in texas.now he's got a farm, raising a family. he didn't come back home,tail tucked between his legs. i came close to losing my scalpa number of times. if it hadn't been for mr jedediahsmith, a man named fletcher... the one that wantedhis rifle cock replaced? that's him.stood right over there. he's dead now.
talked about gold and fortune.i remember. now he's gone. so much for dreams of glory. that kind of life always carriesa price. nothin' comes easy. but mr smith is not dead. he's blazingtrails, making a name for himself. plenty of glory going around out there,and he deserves most of it. greatest man i ever met. riders, dismount! come on.
it's just like i said. hides. pelts. got too many of them already. you got something we can use? any of those you're willing to barter? cos there's a lot oflonely boys headin' west, where there's no preachersor high-falutin' women to tell 'em a man's pleasureain't right. you understand? of course you do!
jacob. look here, jacob.what's in the newspaper. ''pathfinders needed to escort partieswest from independence, missouri, through to california... ...following paths trailblazed by therecently deceased mr jedediah smith.'' ''running low on water,smith went ahead of the wagon train to find a watering hole or spring.'' he was leading a partyon the cut-off to santa fe. that part of the country'scomanche territory. he knew that. he cut signwith the best of 'em.
he knew a man aloneain't got a chance. he was a god-fearing man. he was a modest man. saved my life up in a cave in utah. mohave had surrounded us. things were at their bleakest, and it looked like the sunwould wash our bones, and... kept us going,and he kept me believing. now he's dead.
he wanted me to stay out west. said if i didn't, i'd neverknow the man i could've been... ...the man god wanted me to be. wheelerton's gone stale. i don't know,maybe it's the dare of it all. besides, i don't likehow they treat you... ...or young margaret light shines. it's not like family. they will grow accustomed to us.
a man expects more from family. i want back west. it will be hard for the children. we'll go in slow, easy stages. this is your home.virginia's your people. don't make history by sleepingin the bunk he was born in. ''history''? taking your brother with you.took nathan last time. we haven't seen him since.
i'm going because i wish to. i had a chance before,and i didn't go. i won't makethe same mistake twice. don't expect to come back in good timesand get a piece of the family business. that goes to them that works it. it's understood. fine. i just wanted to hold the babya little while longer. that's what comes of marryin' indians.longing for the wilds.
let's go, jethro. pa? thank you, mother. jacob, wait for me! wait! who's that?! rachel. come to say goodbye? i'm going with you! there's nothing for us here.nothing for any of us.
- and we can help with the children.- who's we? naomi's fiance married someone else. she wants to disappearfrom the face of the earth. - we figure that's where you're going.- is that leah coming with her? she wants to disappear too. try as i might, my impetuous cousinscould not be made to reconsider. i wrote to ma and pa to explain thingsbut knew i left them bereft. i hoped that i would prove equalto the responsibility i had undertaken. western plains, 1837
stop! the herd is ours. is this the land of the lakota? i speak of the herd, not the land. you speak foolishness. it's buffalo we want. up there! over there, too!
they seek the same herd and they have many more rifles. so what can we do? we can also get rifles. eight muskets for four ponies. eight musawacon... ...for four shocawaka. ourjourney from virginiato independence took three years. like most other folksin a restless young america,
we stopped and settled a while,worked, then pushed on. houses were built then abandonedbefore the trees came into bearing. fields were planted then leftfor others to reap the harvest. on the way we had another child.a boy, jacob jr. ...toes into the deep, blue,clear waters of the pacific ocean. welcome, friends!is it the golden coast you seek? the shangri-la of the west? californ-eye-aye! you ever been there?
no. no, can't say as i have. - i've been. i've seen.- and what's your assessment? by comparison,everything else is a dung heap. well put! we're in agreement, sir! welcome! we can use a manwho's been down that trail. we have close to the makings of a train.don't want too big a company. we wish to travel light and fast. - and safe?- yes, sir. that's it exactly! sign up. contract's there.
list your members,your intentions, equipment, skills. do you accept freemen of colour? - where are you from, sir?- illinois. they love us as a race there,but hate us as people. we're headin' west for acceptance. join us! you joining this train, mister? i'm thinking on it. there's a lot of rulesand regulations, mister.
hoxie's the name. stephen hoxie. i'm providing wagons,horses, cattle, stores. and doing that, i figureto captain this train. not the pilot, mind you.not our guide. - the man in charge, huh?- somebody's got to be. might as well be the fellowwho provides for all. a wagon train is like a passenger shipon a lonely prairie ocean. always a captain on a ship.
we need rules, standards. organisation, young man.everyone needs a task. jethro, they got a members' council... ...to report to captain. ten-dollar tax per person? moral clause? as the saying goes, when alien peoples meet, firstthey fight, and then they fornicate. we need to preserveour dignity, our civilised ways.
can't let savagery infect us. we intend to sit out the rains,depart come spring. that way we beat winterin the sierras. well. come see meif you have questions at colonel noland'shotel and tavern. what about missouri? we're in missouri. the land is rich. there are plenty of people, farms,
settlements. why not stay here? it's swamp country. malaria, pestilence.don't want it. don't need it. no fever in california. i heard of one fellow talking, said folks routinely live150, 200 years in california, climate's so good. folderol!nobody can live that long.
one old coot they saidwas 250 years old, and he'd had enough. decided he wanted to die. what'd they do,feed him mexican food? there's an argumentto be made for oregon. - at least they speak english.- true. who's gonna talk spaniardwhen we get to california? you, jacob? those dons are educated.they speak english.
california or bust! didn't tell meyou were a coopersmith. we're obliged to the proprietorsfor letting us use the shop, make another wagon for the journey.wheelwrights. my brother, jethro. next to pilots and indian fighters, few things as crucialto the success of a train as a skilled wheelwright. you hadn't come by noland's. we intend to leavein a matter of days.
how many wagons? eighteen. i've hired a pilotnamed josiah bell. he ran with fitzpatrick,trapping beaver, fighting indians. he's been everywhere.he's got two scouts with him. including the others,we have 22 armed men. oh, yeah? horses or oxen? horses and mules.
think those wheelscan handle the trail? i expect so. they're iron tyres.two and a half inches bolted. well, that's a substantial wagon. conestoga, we call it. well-seasoned wood,falling tongues, well-steeled skeins. what about extra axles? can't do without 'em. tyres buckle, wagon tongues snap,front axles fail. lower half of the wagon, that's whereall your problems are. the running gear.
we can sure use folks like youon this journey. i've got a part-time coopersmithand half-assed wainwright. but no wheelwrights. well, we sure would loveto come, only... ...we don't have $80. - i'll loan you.- won't be indebted either. then what? well, you pay for the extra axles, spokes and tonguesand heavy equipment.
me and jethro's labour for the journeywill come to about $80. i reckon.don't you figure, jethro? right about 80, brother. and so the wheeler partyrolled out of independence, headin' west-northweston hoxie's train. wagon master hoxie wasa regular napoleon of the plains. wanted everybodyto call him ''captain'' even though he'd never beennear a uniform. his hired pilot was a frontiersmanby the name of josiah bell.
and there were two scouts,meeks and skate. bonnets. i'd seen their kind before.rough-hewn boys, chawbacons. come west not for adventureor riches or exploration, but for women and whiskey. and god only knowswhat they were running from. with us was hobbs, a german preacherwho claimed also to be a doctor. he led us in prayerwhen we departed independence, asking the lord's guidanceand protection from disease,
accidents, beasts of preyand wild heathens. when he said the last, he was staringstraight at thunder heart woman. she didn't pay him no mind. form up the wagons,tight as possible. form 'em up you hear that? tighten up! tighten up! up here. my god, rachel. how manydo you think there are?
too many to count,i'll tell you that. they're beautiful. i can feel their breath. our first sighting of a buffalo herdwas a memorable moment for all. i'd seen it before,but i was still in awe... ...sheer dumbstruck awe. why'd you have to do that? it's meat, ma'am.you got something against meat? what'd we bring cattle for, then?
killin' them saves cattlefor the journey. believe it or not, there'll be spotswhere game is scarce. even buffalo. wolves. mountain men, wolves and buzzards. a regular jamboreeof like-minded idiots. why don't you pretty ladies go on and collect chips for us. chips? buffalo chips were prairie's fuel,oil of the plains.
fuel for the campfire,manna from the bison. fast and plenty.but somebody had to gather them. here. put them in here. - what's your name?- marquis jones, from illinois. how many of thesedo they expect us to collect? that greasy-looking pigsaid as many as we could. we'll show him. ready to circle. circle 'em up, my friends.
the wolves today, it was bad sign. and these peopleyou have chosen to lead us, they are bad sign. we should go back. tomorrow. these people don't believein magic or sign. do you? i can't get these peopleto turn back now.
- you will not try?- no, i won't. the sentinels awakenedthe train at 4.00. by 5.00am, the animals wererounded up for the morning trek. breakfast was from 6.00 to 7.00, and at 7.00 preciselythe signal was given to advance. forward! teams were rotated daily, so that the wagonsin the vanguard one day would be in the extreme rear the next
and work their way up the columnday by day. being in the tail of the columnwas always worst, due to the dust kicked upby the wagons. captain hoxie wanted things organised, ''for the welfare of allthe overlanders'' he'd say. wherever you were bound, there wasone golden rule for the pioneers: follow the river. big rock right here! pick it up! pick it up!
that's it! keep it moving!that's it! keep 'em on the angle there.keep 'em on the angle. let the hold-rope pull you, jethro,on the angle. on the angle, i know.you told me a dozen times. easy now! stay on the oblique, preacher!watch the current! somebody! oh, god! help! get them!
help! leah! leah fell in the water! stay with the wagon! she can't swim! neither can you! do you see her? ho, ho, ho, ho, ho. where is she?
you see her? you were to cross at the angle witheverybody else, wait for the hold-ropes! but, no, you wouldn't listen! those are grounds to cut you off,preacher, and leave you here! damn it, captain hoxie! that's enough now. leave it. god, in his greatness, in his mysterious workings, has taken this child from us.we weep for her...
...and her family, and we know that godweeps with us. though we know not why, we thank thee, god,for thy blessings and pray that youwill protect this child. show us thy will. let thy mercy rest on us. amen. i've had enoughof this wagon train.
- i want to go back, jacob.- me too. back to missouri. ya hear? we're all sick of it!the women, anyway! take us back! miss rachel? just wanted to say how... how sorry i am about your sister. thank you, mr ebbets. you can call me james.or jim even. jim.
i hope it's not the case that you'replanning on going back, miss rachel. cos i sure do enjoy the sightof you here on this train. your presence... - ...it pleases me.- my presence? the sight of me? i'd give anythingto feel like a woman again. clean hair, smooth skin. wearing my sunday bonnet. maybe go on a picnic.
that's as much prairieas i'd ever want to see again. and then right back home to a place that doesn't weave and rollto the sway of the land. something fixed and permanent. a place to rest. leah's resting now. she's the lucky one. storm's a-comin'! we'd better take shelterin that cover up ahead.
trees are scarce.we gotta grab the ones we've got. can we not obtain a few more miles? last thing you wantin the wide open is a storm. he's right, captain hoxie. follow me! take cover! the trees! keep 'em in the circle!don't let them run! my god! take cover from the storm. you're all right. careful.
women and children,under the wagons! hang on to it!don't let it go! we gotta get out of the wagon!take the baby! i got the baby! hurry, jacob!get them out of there! come on. underneath. let's go. get underneath!everybody, underneath! - come on!- no!
- no! no! i'm not going!- yeah, you are! - naomi!- kill me! please, god!hit me with a lightning bolt! - come back here!- leave me be! i wanna die! you! i got her, skate! thanks! cattle stomped my boy. ran right over him.
bring 'em on through, boys. come on, boys! pull hard! up! heave! all our corn and meal ruined! might as well dump it. everybody! we are ready now. you didn't want to die last night,did you, miss naomi? i don't know, skate.
you're the one came riding after me.i guess you thought so. i'm glad you didn't. woman like you has gottoo much life ahead of her. good life. get in the wagon. i won't leave my baby behind! i want to stay with him. please, let me stay with him. why did you bring us here?
what kind of life is this? ''betterin' ourselves.''is that what this is? why can't a niggerjust know his place? why can't a man just know? we will come back and visit him. and place flowers. when? how? i couldnever find this place! i could find it for you, ma'am. anytime you want, i'll bring youback here, you can visit your boy.
would you really? anytime. will you dance with me,miss rachel? no. let's just walk for a bit. nice moon tonight, isn't it? nice enough. i'd heard so much about the west.i couldn't wait to give it a gander. would you ever considergetting married someday?
yes, someday, i imagine. wouldn't you? that's why i asked. what do you mean? would you marry me? now? well, not right this minute. maybe in a couple of days,when time permits. i know you don't know muchabout me, but...
...we'll have opportunity for that. whenwe get to california, i intend to farm. and i'll build you a proper house. heard the grass is so good,you don't need to put up hay. all right, then. i'll marry you. that went easier than i thought. come now.we're almost to the summit. get out of the way. and now with the power
granted bythe great creator himself, i hereby pronounce youman and wife. yes! excellent! well done! good job! who's next? - you have a ring?- yes, sir, i do. very well. i need your christian name, skate. alfred bertram guthrie, junior.
folks got married, people died,babies were born. it was the wheel of life. something about the plainsmade people cling to one another and leave the grief behind. grief was a luxurynone of us could afford. we had to move on. toil and drive, plod and push,just keep moving. and when a wedding happened,we'd all celebrate. ''shivaree, '' we called it.
dog star! there's trouble in the other camp! come! quick! crow did this? with rifles they killed our warriors. arrows and knives for thewomen and children. now that the crow have rifles they invade our hunting groundand kill lakota?
why? why? do i have to make war uponthem to gain the answer? all right, steady. look out below! ease up on your side, mr harper! rachel! look out! rachel. you just lie still. hush now. just lie still. hush now.
can't you seethat she's in agony?! it's a compound fracture. i can dress itas best as i can, but it's bad. two, preacher. she can't sleep, jacob. says there's somethingcrawlin' in there. crawling where? rachel, jacob and the preacherare here.
- jim?- just lie back. try and get some rest. gangrene has set in. - what about surgery?- you mean amputate? you've been claimingyou're a doctor. - can she be saved?- i don't believe so. - it's spread too far.- try! there's no point.she's suffered long enough. so we just let her die.
- she's my wife!- she's my cousin! shouldn't we leave this to her? it's her leg, her body. here. laudanum. it's not much,but it's all i've got. you better take it. you're gonna be all right, rachel. we're gonna fix you up. bite down hard.
it took an hour and a halffor him to hack through the bone... ...but by that point rachel had died. seeking answers, as wise men do, dog star travelled to paha sapa,the heart of all things. black hills, lakota nation a place where menprayed for visions. there he found his brother,loved by the buffalo, and was overjoyed to see him. running fox, our brother,left the tribe
because he believed if we do notlearn the white man's ways we will be unable to resist them. i insisted that we remain true to thegrandfather spirit. to the ancient ways of the lakota. was i wrong? does wakan tanka speak with you? i seek him every day. then tell me...do we needto alter our ways? no...never...
you are sure of this? in my heart i know this well. i have devoted myself topreserving our ways. it is my mission to do this. i shall live long enough toaccomplish this mission and no longer. captain hoxie! hold the wagons! - hold 'em up!- skate, stay with them.
that's the cholera if ever i seen it. preacher? she had bowel trouble? why didn't you say anything? i was hoping it would pass. you tell him, preacher. that's the dread cholera. as far as this hoss is concerned,all bets are off. you'd better call a council, captain.
our thoughts and prayers are with mr jonesand his daughter. cholera was the mostfeared disease on the trail, folks not knowing what brought it on,bad air, bad water, fever. it killed indiscriminately, and the only responseat the time was quarantine. our rear guard will remain behind. we will await your return... ...with open arms.
the wagons that had no contactwith the dead woman would leave, while the remainder would stay behindfor a spell before going their own way. we wish you good health. and godspeed. to the wagons. naomi, who'd been up frontwith her new husband, bid us farewell,and no one blamed her. we were left to fendfor ourselves and wait to see who among us might bethe next to become infected.
what are you doing? gonna separate him from us,see to him. it's all i know to do. your family's here. you are the reasonwe are here, why we came! she's right. let me be. if i get sick, you'll bebetter off without me. but you are not sick. he is. i'll know if i am soon enough. with cholera, if it don't get youfirst day, chances are you'll recover. what if you do not?what do we do?
boil your water before you drink it. - go without me. catch up to them.- they will not take us back. then go on your own.find your own people. is that why you brought me here?to find my own people? - what about your children?- what do you want from me? i want my husband! leave me be, jacob. go to the others. nope. i lost rachel.
i lost leah. i ain't losin' no more. should have left themback in virginia. they didn't exactly give you a choice. i've always beenenvious of you, brother. you always had that spark, that sense of adventure. i always wishedi could be like that. like you.
you are like me, jethro. that's the nicest thingyou could say to me. we're gonna be livingin the west together, with farms beside one another. you're gonna be raisin'a family... next to mine. jacob... how is he? better. honest.
can you stand up? - what about everybody else?- good. we have been boiling our water. catch up with the others.they're a day ahead. i'll go ahead alone,get them to slow up, then come back for you. fought 'em hard, didn't you, skate? bet you killedmore than your share of them. is it cos they took naomi?
come on, jacob! come on! did you find them? wiped out. now they want us. they're cheyenne.i don't understand why. the disease. cholera. by killing us,it will not spread to them. - they gonna come?- maybe they want to frighten us. with each circle, they come closer. get down!
pull it out, jethro. pull it... cheyenne camp are you sick with fever? how are you called? naomi. wheeler... guthrie. mrs skate guthrie.he was my husband. your warriors killed him. he too has lost a loved one.come.
you will now be called''five horses.'' thank you kindly. what is that? special oils. make prairie fire burn all night. am i to be married tonight?is that it? hey, diddle, diddle,the cat and the fiddle the cow jumped over the moon little miss muffet sat on a tuffeteating her curds and whey
along came a spider, sat down beside herand frightened miss muffet away ...eating his pumpkin pie put in his thumb, pulled out a plumand said, ''gee, what a good boy am i!'' old king cole was a merry old soul,a merry old soul was he he called for his pipecalled for his bowl he called for his fiddler's three he believes you channelevil spirits with these rhymes. more like keeping evil spirits away. old mother hubbard went to her cupboardto fetch her poor dog a bone
but when she got therethe cupboard was bare so her poor dog had none oh, god!i can't take it any longer! stop the wagon! - leave me here. leave me here.- we will not! i... the wagon... i can't take the pain.i gotta get out. we will camp hereuntil you are well. no. no.
winter's coming.you gotta get past the mountains. take the children, go with jethro.i'll find you. lord almighty. how could youask me to do a thing like that? - abandon you?- the trail's gonna kill me quicker than if you leave me behind. here, i can rest.i can heal up on my own terms. please, just leave me here. thank you... ...for finding me...
...for saving me... ...and for loving me. loving you is easy.it always has been. but i'll see you again.i know it. young margaret light shines,you mind your mother. and never forget who you are. you're one part lakota,one part virginia. abraham high wolf. remember who you are always,
and remind your brother, jacob. i love you. i doubted i would make it. i thought of grandfather two arrowsand grandmother good path, how they had accepted deathas they had accepted life. now it was my turn. hot. fever. yes. i'm sorry about your child. he lives...but not long...
cheyenne? a gift from wakan tanka. no other way to explainmy wife's brother coming upon me like he did. for three days,he and his band cared for me, and i shared the storyof my family's departure and my mission to find them. it hurt to trade a rifle for a horse. but i knew i could nevercatch up to my family on foot.
winter was in the air, and if i could not cross the sierras, they would be lost to me until spring. ''best laid plans''people call them. well, winter did come early. twenty-foot snowdrifts closed the pass. california 1841 it's too beautiful to be real. what is it, mama?
beyond that,as far as the eye can see... ...is california. just as your father said. will daddy ever see it? how can you turn downnine horses, prairie fire, when you only paid five for her? tell me something, howling coyote. can any of your horses singlike five horses? this most sacred possessionhas been in my family...
...for generations. can it sing? let's go! twinkle, twinkle, little star how i wonder what you are up above the world so high like a diamond in the sky nature's unforgiving tempestand my own wounds conspired to defeat my purpose.
so i became a creatureof the wilderness. not a soul to answer to. i trapped, i hunted, i survived. cheyenne winter camp what shall we call your son, husband? my son...our son...shall be... one horn bull! the mountains claimedmy company for two seasons,
and eventually...they claimed my mind. the eyes of my childrenhaunted me because i knew their little eyes still held hopethat they would see me again. sometimes i lost controlwhen i remembered their faces and all the lifei wanted to live with them. those little eyes would always belooking down the road for me. you are happy here? with our family? our tribe?
i am glad to be here. you are happy? after that awful second winter, i traded peltsfor goods and animals and headed to californiato find my family. i inquired after themin every mission, every farmhouse, every town,every stranger along the road. i lived for the momentwhen i could redeem the hope in the eyes of my children.
but it seemed californiahad just swallowed them up. american rivercalifornia 1846 war broke outbetween my country and mexico. while looking for my family,i got caught up in a struggle between the californiosand mexico city. i fell in with captain john fremontand his bear-flagged volunteers. we saw no action to brag about, as the hot warwas on the texas border. when it was over,
america had acquired texas,california and the southwest. but i lost everything. madam, i'm captain fremont,and these are my volunteers. we'd be much obliged if you'dallow us to fill our canteens. welcome. i'm the lady's husband. - are you the hero of monterey?- some call me that. take these to the men. fruit, mister?
pick me a good one. - say, boy.- yes, sir? it's the best damn apple i ever had.you picked me a real winner. so i want to give you a giftto show you my appreciation. - gift?- yeah, put that down. it's a magic necklace. and the magic's stronger... ...if you tell no one about it. tell no one?
that's right. thanks! thank you for your kindness, sir. you're welcome. i saw a family, a happy family. i saw the home i had dreamed offor all of us, a peaceful placewith sun and rain for crops. i saw a couple who cared for each otherand looked after their children. what more could a manwant for his family?
so i took my heartbreakto the mountains. only they could understandthe immensity. - jacob?- yes, mama? where did you get this? one of the men gave it to me. which one? what did he look like?describe him to me. he was... tall. like uncle jethro. what did he say?
he liked my apple. what's wrong, mama? don't you like it? yes. it is precious. keep it. white hide hunterscame with their long guns and killed the buffalo, leaving carcasses to rotacross the endless prairies. without its flesh and spiritto sustain them,
the people of the buffalo nationbegan to lose their way. what do you want for these? do you have any hand rifles? you want pistols.colt pistols. pish-tols. for all. by law, i'm not allowedto sell them to indians. can't help you there. but... whiskey.
a pint each.how about that? give me some more. this is good to dri... - did you see him?- no. then how do you know it was him?it could have been anybody. who else could it be? who else but jacob would bother? so he's alive,and he knows we're here. he wishes to leave us alone.
i've asked myself whya thousand times. does jethro know? he saw it on the boy. it eats him inside. i should have buried it,kept it from him. what are you going to do? i have to find him.he's my father. it has been many years, brother. loved by the buffalocame to us in a vision...
...told us to return. you were right, brother. the white's handouts willnot help our people. only our ancient wayscan be relied upon. you are welcome here. share our tipis, our food... my little brother has returned! american rivercalifornia territory 1848 looks good on the back of a horse.it's the indian in him.
you should not have traded cowsfor the pony. we have so little. well, we'll get by. don't worry. look at him. ma, did you see me? my son has his father's spirit. too much, i think. ''the mohican now found an opportunity tomake a powerful thrust with his knife. magua suddenly relinquished his grasp and fell backward without motion,
and seemingly without life.'' - now go to bed.- just a little more? it's late. please, uncle jethro? all right, a little more. '''well done for the delawares. victory to the mohicans,' cried hawkeye, once more elevating the buttof the long and fatal rifle.'' it's time to teach them to read.
they like the telling. it was the same when i was a girl andwe listened to grandfather's stories. they're sure curious,like their father. jacob was always thirstingafter something new. he loved this book. it is good you tell them book stories. it's time i bought 'em some new ones. - afternoon.- afternoon. i'm sure hopin' you folks can steer mein the direction of the digs.
- i seem to have got myself plumb lost.- digs? ain't you heard? san francisco's gone crazy. fella showin' off goldfrom sutter's mill. right up hereon the american river. gold? somebody's joshing ya. - it's true.- you must be hungry. stay. eat supper with us. thank you kindly, ma'am,but i best be on my way.
there'll be plenty more on my tail,i can tell you that. it'll be picked clean in no time. - could it be true?- maybe. san francisco excuse me,i'm here to see mr mathers. i've heard nothing, margaret. damn it, mathers,you hire me a team. you simmer down! is there no one who's meta virginian wheelwright?
- no men who served with fremont?- i ask everyone who comes through, - like i told you i would.- hands off! that wagon is mine! you're wasting my time, girl,and your own. best let it go. i can't. it's my father. upper klamath lakeoregon territory captain, these aren't the indiansthat killed your men. those are modoc people.these are klamath. stand away from that prisoner.
this chastisement will serve asfair warning to all renegade tribes. i joined the armyto open up new lands, but by opening them,we had changed them forever. i'd had my bellyful of soldieringand paid too high a price for it, in my heart and in my soul. my family, or so i thought then,was forever lost to me. jethro had taken my place,and they lived in their rightful peace. once i had found that peace with myselfin the solitude of the mountains, and hoped i would again.
i don't know. i heard someone saythey're looking for gold. really? jake! jake! jake! jake! jake! hey, look! all right! all right! ten. twenty. twenty-five.
don't pass me by so easily, friend. for only a fraction of an ounce of gold,yours can be the secret of vitality. - fancy a poke?- sorry? only five dollars,worth every penny. decided to try your hand? yeah, maybe. some here's made enoughfor two lifetimes already. - i'm martin, martin jarrett.- jethro wheeler. i've seen the elephantand lived to tell the tale.
$397.17. just like that. i'll be wishing you luck, jethro. you just pulled that out of the water? think on the lord's word, brothers. what shall it profit a man to gainthe world, but lose his own soul? move along, preacher.take your doxology work someplace else. you're scarin' away all the gold. you, brother, turn back now!
turn back before the wages of sinexact their fearful toll. it's none of my business, reverend, but if the lord didn't want a man toprofit from those rocks in the ground, why'd he put 'em there? oregon trail the land cries in pain. such is the whiteman's road, my son. why don't we stopthese white men? you can not stopthe white man
any more than you canstop the sun and moon. do they not have homes in thisland across the great river? the white man belongsto no place, brings horse, and where he comes,death follows him. we must alwayswalk different roads. quit gawking, get back to work.there's beds to be made. i run a respectable house. you'llsee to it that it looks respectable. gentlemen, not a twitch. hey, you lookin' for someone, gal?
you ask me cos...i know everybody. step aside, sir, please. i have businesswith your officer. well, listen to that, huh? this little gal's got business, huh? back to your work, private. can i help you, miss? are there any men herewho served with captain fremont? some in the parademarched under his flag.
there's a few bear flaggers.who you lookin' for? jacob wheeler. jacob wheeler... sure, i know him. come with me. i tell you, i've never seena mule skinner like old jacob. - mule skinner?- yes, ma'am. now, i'll do for you, but first you got to do for me. no. please...
it's all right. it's all right. you're safe with me. you have to listen to me.you have to leave here. leave here immediately.you have to trust me. you must leave. this one appears to be in your size. - it's too pretty.- nonsense. no, i have many of these...for my sittings, of course. thank you, mr biggs.
please... call me ethan. i shall call you margaret, all right? you're very kind. you must allow meto make your portrait sometime. i couldn't. i think you could. is there luck on your side? it's not very big.
if you knew what youwere talking about, you'd know that'sprobably worth about $30. - you have found more of this?- not yet, but i will. - can i hold it?- sure you can. you've never seen anything like it. hundreds in the river pulling outa fortune without even trying. it's nature's bounty,and it's right there for the taking. it cannot be so easy. i tell you, it's sitting in the waterwaiting to be found,
and i'm, by god, gonna find it. i want to dowhat's right by all of us. - you have.- no, no, a man can always do better, - and that's just what i mean to do.- you could fix wheels again. i'm no wheelwright,and neither was jacob. you know that. your brotherwould not care about such things. he could be in the middle of somestream right now making his fortune. he sure ain't here. it will be cold tonight.please bring in the wood.
abe can do it. go on. day's hard prospectingtakes it right out of a man. i mean, i've looked after themsince my brother... like i said,when i'm done here, they're not gonna want for anything. me, i'm going up river. spent most of that 400 on supplies. some making more coinselling a man his three squares
than standing in the water all day. water gets right into my bones. you gotta get yourself one of these. every now and then,it warms a man's body... ...and his spirit. hey, can you get my friend hereone of these special flasks, dig it out of the back? $15. that's robbery,that's what that is.
doesn't mean i don't want it. told you. how do you get this thing out? one of them hookers knows how. this winter will be hardif the barn is not finished. - our animals won't have shelter.- i got no time. let it be. i found goldand you want me to pound nails. he has no right tospeak to you like that. father would know what is right.
go back to bed. what's he saying? when i strike it, son,it'll be for all of us. i'm not your son. mind your mannersor i'll come strap you! you ain't strapping me. do as i say, high wolf. go. boy's got no call to act like that.
treated himlike he was my own. my own! there's no meat. the miners have chased awayall the game. that or abe's not much of a hunter. you better startproviding for your mother! like you are? what'd you say? - nothing.- what'd you say?!
nothing! it's time you learned respect.understand? - enough! sit down. eat.- i'm tired... - i'm sorry.- stay away from her! - get off me!- stop! jethro, stop! god. where will you go? away from here. he does not know what he does.
the yellow dust he seekspoisons his mind. you don't need him. that is not why i stay. i stay because... ...this is the home i have made. don't worry on my account.there's always work for a good rider. you are no longer a boy. there are only a few coins here, but i give them to you.
remember that you are lakota. you will be strong. dog star's father had taught himas a boy to keep the winter count, which told the storyof the people's journey. now it became his responsibilityto preserve the count for the next generation. your paints alwaystell the same story. the whites become more plentiful and each year the earthgrows a little smaller.
when they have found all theyellow metal they need, they will leave. you can't even see whatyour own eyes show you. come, brother. do you know this place, brother? here we hunted our first buffalo. come. when we were boys, you guided me ontothe right path...
now it is you whohas lost the way. there's no need for that, ma'am! i'm david wheeler. jethro's cousin. sure is good, ma'am. i haven't eaten like thisfor a month of sundays. how did you find us? just asked around sacramento. this isn't exactly down the roadfrom wheelerton.
well, the familygot a letter from margaret. she had this notionjacob was still alive, wanted to tell him she was lookingfor him if he came by the house. the girl got itinto her head that he didn't die. then abe got it into his headnot to mind me. both of them... ...crazy. i came out westto make my fortune. i intend to die a rich man. not pounding iron.
so, how much youpulled out of that river? some here, some there. i was hoping we'd partner up. what have you got to invest, david? i've got these, willing to crackand blister until i hit pay dirt. what do you say, huh? well... yes. go ahead. you see the water like that?swirl it around.
move it! this is my claim!this is my claim! well, it's mine now!you've had your turn! go on now! go back to the boat! it's mine! you've had your turn! go back! it's my claim now! - sons of bitches.- they won't be coming back. it's my claim now. hey, can you spare some dustso i can get a drink?
jarrett? what happened to you? just down on my luck.it'll turn. thought you headed upriver. i did, just didn't tap in. can you stake me for a drink? i'll pay you back when i hit it. i dreamed a dream the other nightthat everything was still i dreamed that i was carryingmy laundry on down the hill
a piece slipped out and i fell downnow i drag my liver oh, i'll wash my long johnsin the icy river - hey, jethro.- what? come here. give me a hand. we're rich. we're rich. we're stinking... shut up! you want 'em to kill us?shut up! get your coat. quick!
get my coat off. come on. come on! let's get out of here. is it real? - look at that.- how much gold do you think's there? it's a big vein.i'd say a quarter, maybe a third. - maybe a half?- maybe. - you must take it from here quickly.- we gotta get this assayed. the river's up.we'll go downstream to sacramento.
there's banks there. we'll setout at dawn. we gotta move fast. - we'll take jake to cover our backs.- no, he is a boy. he's old enough to make surewe keep what's ours. this is not his doing.don't make him a part. you never were for this.you're not happy. i know i'm not jacob, - but i tried to do my best.- no one asked you! i've made mistakes.i know that. but things are gonna bedifferent now. all right? if you were white, you'd knowhaving that rock means everything.
it means everythingi ever promised you. please. please give me a chance to prove it.please, i'll show you. please. please. i will pack food for you. i think i'll buy mea grand city house with servants to wait on me,like those plantations back home. what about you, jethro? what are you gonna dowith your half? half. what are youtalking about, half?
that was my claim. oh, you'll get your reward,but you ain't getting half. i'd say your take is a quarter. i found it. i found it! you owe me half,you son of a bitch! you being family,i'll make it a third. take it or leave it. now sit down and have a drink. david!
let go! one year later san francisco1850 four. five. six. seven. eight. nine. and we're done. thank you very much. my assistant should have thisportrait ready for you momentarily.
margaret? i'll just be a moment. like this perhaps? i think so. i was so young, but i still see that face sometimes. well, we'll get one of these picturesengraved and post it everywhere. margaret... when are you going tointroduce me to your mother?
you're not ashamed of me,are you? ashamed? i mean, after all,i am a foreigner. that's not it. there are things about methat you don't know, ethan. then tell me. i'm not pure white. my mother is lakota. out here, none of that matters.
out here, everyone has a clean slate. - hey, boy, more coffee.- yes, sir. next. thirty cents. i want something back. please. leave her be. all right. just saying hello. more food. more bread. hurry. mother? i clean the white men's clothes.
i feed those who are hungry. more and more they come. they pay me with the goldthat stole away jethro's spirit. some i keep to make our lives better. some i give back to the earthas an offering. surely you can afford to leave now. i will never leave this place. why not? the spirits spoke to me in a dream.
they told me that one day your fatherwould return to this place. the spirits. dreams. you have goneto the big city and forgotten theways of our people. the ways of our peoplemust change or they will die. that is what i have learnedin san francisco. i see you hold my daughterin your heart, ethan biggs, but the new waysare not always better. no, i make no such claim.
but yes, it's true. i dohold your daughter in my heart. so it is with my own husband. even when i was wife to his brother, i was bound to him alone. if wakan tankablesses you with such a bond, there is nothing that can destroy it. those whom god hath joined together, let no man put asunder. the roads of the peopleand the white man
could not be kept apart. the white fatherin the place called washington sent word that all the nationsof the plains should gather to hear his words. if they offer us enough,we must consider it. there is no bargainingwith whites. it is better tostay away from them. no, it is better tospeak for our people or they willhave no voice.
i will not have my sons fight their father's battles. from all directions, many nations came to the great smoke to show their desireto live at peace with the whites. ft. laramie, nebraska territoryseptember, 1851 the lakota called itthe council at long meadows and our friends the cheyennecalled it the horse creek treaty. to the whites,it was the treaty of fort laramie.
''article five: the aforesaidindian nations do hereby recognise and acknowledgethe following tracts of country, included within the metes andboundaries hereinafter designated...'' the broken hand who spokefor the white father divided the earth among the nations as if he were the creator himself. he gave each nationland they already owned. the white father then told the nationsto live in peace with one another and to allow the wagons of the whitesto pass through without harm.
for that, he would give uscattle to eat and fine things, but for any wrong the people did,the people would make payment. you cannot put stock in anindian's word, mr fitzpatrick. i can assure you,lieutenant grattan, that if these people wished us harm,we'd all be quite dead. once they've collected their trinkets,they'll go back to pillaging. tell me, lieutenant, how long have you labouredto keep our frontier safe? this is my first posting, sir.
- west point, is it?- it is. you'll find that the reality out hereis a lot different from what the generals preach. you'd do well to remember that,young man. the washington father haspromised food and supplies for fifty straight winters. that is a promiseno man can make. we must give them thechance to prove their honor. if we don't,
there will never be peace. enough. go dance now. - it's a gift?- yes, it is. up near yuba pass, a wagon broke a wheeland a trapper fixed it. what's going on?what is it? i just met a fella. says he mayhave seen jacob fixing a wheel. look after the store until we return.
make sure he behaves himself. a steady pace will get you therein a couple of days, - and i want to wish you luck.- all right. safe journey. don't you move. i'll blast your gutsdown your backside. - i'm not a thief.- shut up! you don't look like a thief. you don't know the woods.you announced yourself a mile away.
we're looking for someone. we're looking for jacob wheeler. light shines? margaret, is that you? - daddy.- hold that gun. daddy. lakota territory1851 you will know whatit is to be a father. it is not an easy thing,
but it is good. you have been a good sonand you will be a good father. so much has changedsince you were a boy. i hope life will beeasier for your son. and if it is a daughter? then you will make a son. it is a boy. good. here is your son, white crow.
what will his name be? his name shall be red lance. it is a good name. meet your grandson, father. my grandson. please, next. fine looking squaw, ain't she? she got a good-looking daughter. i wouldn't mind making her acquaintance.might even take me a bath.
i never known an injun galdo wash like her. her husband must have clean britchesevery day. twice on sunday. you don't need britches. - move on.- bet you ain't wearing none - under that skirt.- we're just gonna have to find out. easy there, partner. mind that scattergun, friend.she knows how to use it. just get alongand leave us alone, mister! - look at that indian half-breed.- let go of me!
hand over your pistolsand clear on out. - got no call to take them.- lucky i don't kill you. - who might you be?- the man that wings you just so i can carve your scalpsand show 'em to you before i kill you. jacob jr, take this, son. - get on up!- all right. next time you talk to a man's wife, you'll show her some respect.
get out of here! my name's jacob wheeler! from now on, any of yousons of bitches step out of line, you'll answer to me! anybody want to challenge that? from his days as a boywhen tatanka let him live, loved by the buffalowas chased by dark dreams of days yet to come for the lakota. he had seen the white man's wheelsscarring the land,
grinding into the earth, rolling over all in its path. a weapon that wouldmake the world a desolate place. he travelled the landand lived among its peoples seeking an answerto this terrible prophecy. brule villagenebraska territory 1854 hey, whoa! come on back here! this way! shoo! shoo! take back this cowbefore it does more damage.
don't you want your animal? i claim this cow forthe damage it did. take it back to them. if you don't the soldiers will come. it ruined my tipi. i see trouble over this cow. we must go to thefort in the morning and speak withthe soldier chief. they're here!
soldiers. conquering bear, a cow was taken froma wagon train that passed this village, and i demand you return this cowand turn over the thief. he wants the thiefwho stole the cow. the cow was not stolen. it ran into our villageand did much damage. straight foretop called to the whiteman to take it, but he walked away. he left the cow as payment. straight foretop killed the cow.
we feasted on its bad meat. high forehead killed the cow,and they ate it. he's minneconjou. tell them everything. you tell little soldierchief all that i say. he's drunk. we will give payment for the cow. it was old and injured, but we will givea mule in its place.
they're not gonna give you this man.they give you something for the cow. the man who took this cowwill go to the stockade. he must turn this man over to me now. you must give him straight foretop to put in the iron house. tell soldier chief we will sit and smoke a pipe and settle this. we will pay five horses for the cow. he wants to sit and smoke with you.
the united states armydoes not bargain with thieves. ready on those guns. - it's just a cow.- ready those guns, or i'll have you in the stockadefor insubordination. conquering bear, you areordered by the u.s. army to hand over this cow thiefor suffer the consequences. five horses is agood payment. what's he saying?will he give me this man? - fire.- sir?
fire, damn you! fire! don't fight. don't fight. the people's pain was deep and their anger beyond control. the white man had shown himselfto be without honour. the treaty of long meadowswas to be no more. the wrath of the white fatherin washington rained down and became a floodthat could not be stopped.
everything seemed to be disappearinginto a great hole in the earth. the vision of growling bearwas coming to pass. loved by the buffalo was afraid. 6 years later the west is a place,not a way to live. others would cometo these lands seeking to escape the darkness back east, lawrence, kansas territory1860 but the shadows would follow them,
as they did uncle benjamin's son,samson, and his family, the next wheelers to set their wagonstoward the promise of the setting sun. it's done,like you said it would be. lincoln elected president.south carolina to secede from the union. this wheel could use a rim, jeremiah. i measured it out for you. like i was saying, sir,if there's work, i'm looking to get hired on. i been pounding iron a long time now.
i even had my own shopon the plantation where i was born. now, i done fixed wheels,shod horses. i even turn me some real nicefrench quarter banisters too. i been freed by my master,and i got papers to prove it. - if it's food you need...- with all due respect, sir, i'll work harder and fasterthan two men, and i don't expect much,just some place to lay my head when the day's done. he could have the roomat the back of the shop.
i'll work for nothingtill you see i ain't lying. what's your name? henry. henry foster, sir. my sons, aaron and jeremiah. shake hands, boys. the lord did not intendfor these western lands to be cursedwith the scourge of slavery. virginia may be lost, but we must endeavourto make sure kansas stays free.
samson wheeler. you'll work for wages.i won't have it any other way. yes, sir.thank you, sir. thank you. all right then, henry,let's get to work. mr lincoln has made a proposal to span the countrywith a telegraph and a railroad. a most righteous enterprise. do you think there will be war? men driven to extremesare capable of anything,
but war and hatred onlybreed more war and hatred. things will go hardon our people back in wheelerton. let those that make warlook to their consciences for forgiveness and love as we haveto ours. why isn't clara helping? oh, i do hateto pull her from her sewing. the girl willnever learn to make a home if you allow herto avoid her responsibilities. i believe she is calledto a higher purpose, samson. someday, womenin new orleans or atlanta
or perhaps even new yorkwill be wearing her gowns. frivolities. sheer frivolities. come in. clara, your motherrequires your help for supper. papa, look at this.isn't it beautiful? it isn't done yet, but... do you like it? it's quite beautiful. it is, isn't it?
you know, clara, your mother mightappreciate a new dress. for material. i know just what to buy.thank you, papa! i'll make herthe best dress in lawrence. yes, you will. there are those on our borderswho seek to deter us from the great causewhich we have made our own. i speak of themurderous bushwhackers
who refer to themselvesas quantrill's raiders! i say to you today, we will defend our homes, and we will defend our beliefs, and we will not shy from blood until every godless slave-holding citizen of missouri is cast into a burning pit of hellfire! mr lane,why don't you save your guff
for all thoseblue-bellied yankees back east, you and all yourjayhawkin' kansas trash? we're not gonna standfor you comin' around here and dictatin' to uswith your nigger worshippin'. you talk about hellfire, mr lane? i reckon we're gonna make thingshot enough around here, and that is a fact, sir. i seen your faces, and i'm gonna kill y'all.
i'm gonna murder every lastone of ya, and i'm gonna like it! john brown's bodylies a-mouldering in his grave his soul is marching on nevada territory the pay was $ 100 a month, and the distance was 2,000 miles from st. joe, missourito sacramento, california. the ad read, ''wanted: young, skinny, wiry fellows
not over 18. must be experienced riderswilling to risk death daily. orphans preferred. '' not many were orphans, but like my son,abe wheeler, they were all hungry for freedomand a taste of adventure. and they weren't long finding it. sends it off with the pony express. - somehow...- any sign of indians?
well, not until just now. careful. abe wheeler has seen the backof every station from, what? st. louis clear to sacramento?and more than once too. is that so? well, i rode me 60 miles today. how many miles you make?of course, i done better. i do my talking in the saddle. well, you got yourself a race, abe.
yeah! california1861 ten years had passed sincei'd been restored to those i loved. while the countrylay on the verge of disunion, for us that decadewas a time of great healing. never again would i knowsuch peace and contentment. mother, father, everyone's waiting. hurry please.ethan's losing the light. right, now, mr wheeler,
could i have you movea fraction closer to mrs wheeler? and for the sakeof symmetry, jacob jr, could you pleasechange places with corn flower? all right. not a twitch. and in this time of terrible trial, we ask that you give strengthto mr lincoln's soldiers and keep our son abraham safe,wherever he may be. and bless our lakota family.
bless their wivesand bless their children. amen. - amen.- let's eat. - now, ethan...- yes, sir. tell me the truth. does margaret treat her manthe same way her mother does me? - jacob.- it's all right. margaret is her mother's daughterin many respects. - pass the potatoes.- yes. yeah, but can she cook?
that is a very dangerous questionfor me to answer right now. aren't you eating? it's time for me to go, pa. there's a war on now and california'sdeclared for the union. it's time i set out on my own. thought on where you're headed? north, maybe,then east across the territories. i'll just let the windblow me where it wants to.
well, i'd like youto have my pistol. i feel better knowin'you're carrying a gun that's already done some killin'. and knows what it's about. there are plenty out therewho mean harm, so don't you be afraid to use it. better that than gettin' killed.you understand me? i think it's coming today.he says it's from new york. spare a penny?
it's very nice, but no, thank you. quantrill's men did this. all right. get to work. - i reckon i best be movin' on.- no. to give in to such terroris to admit defeat. i'll not haveany of that kind of talk. samson. such convictions are all welland good for the boys, but i worry for clara's sake.
at least allow me to send wordto cousin daniel in omaha. i will not have the girlobliged for her welfare to a man with whomi am not on friendly terms with. - never have been!- i beg you. no more of this! great plainsoctober, 1861 as each year passed, dog star continued to count. the symbols he drewcaused him much pain,
but he did not abandonthe sacred trust which had been placed in him. his brother running fox joked that he saw no differencein the pictures, just more white men every year. white horseman! let's catch him! let him go! leave him alone.he rides like a lakota.
but we can catch him! hey. fetch me a horse, damn it! ain't no rush.we're closing down. what? pick up your final pay in sacramento.we're done in. he climbs like a squirrel. it's metal. from the woods! nephew!
my little brother! excellent shot, trooper. older brother, i have broughtyou back your son. nebraska territory1862 - hell if i know.- he's thirsty. folks he killed won't be drinkin'. drink as much as you want. mount up!
you speak their language. what of it? half the problem out hereis we can't communicate. army could use a man like you,if you got a mind to help these people. if i were you, i'd think about it. great lands have opened, and every daysettlers arrive needing help. i've signed on with the armyas a scout and interpreter, and apprehend i may beof some small use
in the noble effort to preserveour union in these western lands. do not worry on my account... ''for i knowi have not yet met my destiny. i look up at the moon and stars and am comforted knowingthat we see the same thing, and that connects us even if we are separatedby a great distance. i remain your loving son, jacob.'' do you ever miss your family?
you are my family. when i was inmy mother's belly, she looked upat the night sky and found the brightest star in it. you see? right there. do you see those stars that are shaped like a dog? that is the name she gave me.
dog star. someday, when youare grandparents, you too will lookup to the night sky with your grandchildren. clara. get dressed. please, samson. quantrill is burnin' the town. we cannot allow these maraudersto outrage us again. ''whosoever shall smite thee on theright cheek turn to him the other also.''
i've none left to turn, susannah. the lord is a man of war,and this is his right hand. - but not this way!- no more words. - papa, what is it?- clara, i want you to get out of town. you and your mamaget out of town, no matter what you hear,no matter what you see. - you keep runnin', you promise me?- aren't you comin' with us? you're a talented girl. i want you to use your gift.
i want you to use your giftto do good. you promise me that. you and your mother get goin'. i'll come for you when it's over. go! please come with us, papa! go on, now. git! go on! hurry, mama! clara!
listen to me and do as i say. if anything should happen, i want you to make your wayto cousin daniel in omaha. - he'll take good care of you.- mama! - all right?- mama! - all right, now, go.- no! - clara, go.- mama! go! run! run! burn every house!kill every man!
kansas must be cleansed, and the only wayto cleanse it is to kill! get over here! shoot him again! you two check those houses!you three check the church! if you have to fire,stagger your shots. give yourself time to reload. samson! susannah? susannah!
papa, no! too many found the ravagesof the west to be unendurable. yet there were countless otherswho called on a courage they never knew they possessed. clara wheeler was oneof these rare spirits. she would survive. loved by the buffalohad travelled across the nations but had not yet found the prophet who could make falsethe terrible vision
of the white man's wheel. he sought the signs that wouldlead him to his people's salvation but found only tracesof those who had come before and vanished into the darkness. let the ribbonsof the union pacific railroad omaha, nebraska territorydecember 1, 1863 unfurl from this immortal pointuntil they reach the shores of the mighty pacific. i have in my hand a telegram
just received from washington... ...which i shall read to you. it says, "when this great taskshall have been done, disunion will be renderedforever after impossible. there will be no fulcrum for the lever of treason to rest upon." thomas, jackson, stop shirkingand set that wheel on the bench. it's gonna take ten years to finish theline. i'd sure like to ride it one day,
one train from atlantic to pacific. maybe they'll finish it,maybe they won't. there's money to be made, and i intendto see our family gets its share. i want to see 20 wheelson that wall by sundown. come on, pop, you're talkinglike the railroad's already here. listen to me. we have to make ready. haven't i taught you anything, boy? pardon me, sir. my name is clara wheeler.
my father's name was samson wheeler. you can't turn out an orphan, daniel. the poor thing has no one. i'll send her back eastwhere she belongs. and where will she find safetyin the middle of a war? we've heard nothingfrom wheelerton these many months. there are places in st jo,across the river, - where she can be with her own kind.- it is our christian duty to care for that child. we're theonly people that she has left.
woman, she's noteven samson's natural child, just a foundling he took in,as was his wont. we owe her nothing. - what?- ma's right. - excuse me?- we can't turn our backs on someone looking for our help.not after what she's been through. think if it was one of us. charity always coststhose who give it. so you'd bear that burden upon yourself,i take it? be responsible for her?
- i will.- then you will answer for her, for good or ill. very well, then. robert, why doesshe get to sleep in my bed? clara is our guest, lilly. we're gonnahave to learn to make sacrifices. really the floor is fine. there's comfort in justhaving a roof over my head. mother says you canwear some of her things until she can make you new ones.
please tell her not to bother.i know how to work a sewing machine. what you got there? did you do these? i used to have time for frivolities. i thought the worldwas a pretty place. but it's not. well... let me know if you need anything. - i'll be in my room.- thank you. get going!i'll come for you when it's over.
go on! git! go on! clara, clara. clara, clara! it's ok. you're ok. you're ok. what's wrong with her? you're ok. you're safe here. as governor of california, outside sacramento, californiamarch, 1864 i am proud to welcome you to thiscelebration of our american industry. we of the central pacific railroad
have come far these last few months, further, i might add, than ourcompetitors on the union pacific. bravo! the great race has now begun.we may now look forward to the day when the pacific will be boundto the atlantic with bands of iron that shall consolidateand strengthen our ties of nationality, and advance with giant stridesthe prosperity of our nation. can you imagine, margaret? we can have breakfast in san francisco,supper in carson city,
all the way to the mississippi injust three days. it is truly remarkable. it's all changing so fast. the wheels of progress, my dear.the wheels of progress. ...it is our destinyto smash it asunder! two, one, finally. you have gone to the city and it has taken from youthe ways of our people. what are you saying, my darling? something my mother saidto me before we were married.
her world always seemedso different than mine. i'd like to see it sometime. i don't see any reason why weshouldn't see some of it sometime. ethan, do you mean it? absolutely. it's whatwe've always said we'd do. we could catchthe next stage to denver. you are brilliant, you know that? and exquisitely beautiful. truly one of the mostwonderful women i've ever known.
and there have been so many, my love. ethan! i love you too. my daughter margaret and her husbandethan were not alone in their wandering. central pacific railheadsierra nevadas abe joined the jobless menwho threw their lot in with the central pacific on its thousandmile journey east from sacramento. by the time it was finished, the railroad would profoundlyimpact my children's lives. put your backs into it!
come back here, chief. the name's abe. one of the lost tribes of israel,are we? well, my old testament friend, have you looked at the offeringyou've brought me. now we're trying to keepthe grade level. this won't do. you'll have to clean it up. that's your job. fight!
get him! damned gandy dancers! that'llcost you sons of whores a day's wages. that goes for all of you.now, move it! mr strobridge! get over here. you men, get back to work! i will not toleratemistreatment of these men. you can't speak to themas though they were gentlemen. they're as near brutes as they get. most of these mickswill head to the gold fields
as soon as they can earn a grubstake.we started with 5,000 men. now i got less than 600. well, there seems to be a surplusof chinese in san francisco. they're said to bevery reliable workers. i will not boss chinese! damn it! denver, colorado territoryseptember, 1864 how'd this happen? - good god.- what happened? - how'd this happen?- that's not right.
look ye upon this outrageto all civilised people. the hungate family, cruellymurdered on their own land, land only 25 milesto the east of our fair city. sacrificial lambs slaughtered by the godlesscheyenne dog soldiers, their bodies castlike joseph's into a well. who's this speaker? colonel chivington,the fighting parson. whupped greycoats at glorieta pass,
and he's gonna givethese redskins a hiding! brothers and sisters of colorado. our territory sits poisedjust on the cusp of statehood. but there can beno statehood without order. hear, hear! and there will be no orderas long as a single savage is allowed to occupyone sacred inch of our precious soil. now, there is hope. governor evans has authorised meto muster a new regiment
- for our self-defence.- yeah. now, who of you... ...will join mein this righteous enterprise? grisly business, that. why must you insiston making a record of it? it's what we do. sorry. i just wasn't thinking. hell of a price to payfor some mangy cows.
well, they say old man hungate was out looking for strayswhen they butchered him. yes. thank you.if you could keep quiet. beggin'your pardon, ma'am. you just leave everythingto colonel chivington. when he wants to get something done,you bet it gets did. indians! driver! what in blazes? no! no, don't kill him!
don't kill him! you are lakota? this man is my husband. i am wookis-ehe-ne of the cheyenne. the white man calls me roman nose. he has great power. you lie. you lie! no. he has taught me to copy faces.
if you let us live i will show you. - ethan!- i love you. take them to black kettle. i don't understand.what are they doing? i think they aretaking us to their camp. i won't let anything happen to us. black kettle's camp,sand creek, colorado they are treating usas honoured guests, not captives. yes. they admire you here.
you're one of them. i've spent most of my lifedenying my mother's blood. it's all right. take these. it's all right. i'll be here. tell me about this magic box. we call it a camera. - camera.- camera. camera.
the white man's words,they have no... ...music in them. you speak them very well. so many white man come. they fill our land with their noises. i do not like their language. their words, they have no meaning. walking on the white man's roadas you have done, it is difficult.
the spirit... does not knowwhere to rest. sometimes i... i feel a hole in my heart. the white men are like locusts. they fly so thick that thewhole sky looks like a snowstorm, and we are like smallbuffalo herds left scattered. they will keep coming. they are building a railroad. it will carry themfrom one ocean to another.
have them over there. if you could just... there. that's perfect. thank you.thank you very much. your raids must stop. we have made a promise of peace. i did not sign the soldiers' paper. you will only do harmto your own people. the dog soldiers will nevertear at the ground like farmers.
that is not man's work. she says... i am not so ugly in your magic box. when the white father toldthose of us who wished peace to come to this place, we came. but there is nothing here for us. without the buffalo, our boys cannot become men. they seek war to prove themselves.
in denver we saw a family. they had been horribly butchered. some said it was your people. this is a lie. there are bad white men,and there are bad indians. bad men on both sides.they have brought about this trouble. but i am determinedto end this fighting. you will help me. you understandthe white man's thoughts.
yet in these shadows... ...i see your true heart. take my message of peace to the tall chief in the fort. fort lyon, colorado assembly! major. you'd bettercome take a look at this. my god. black kettle asks for a council.
i bear witnessto his fair treatment. denver, coloradoseptember 28, 1864 - dirty indians!- boy, stop that! we have been travelling under a cloud. the skies have been dark ever since the war came. we want to take good tidings home to our people.
i want all the chiefs of the soldiers to understand that we are for peace, that we may not be mistaken by them... for the enemy. governor evans and col. chivingtonhave heard your words. the governor and thefather of all white men in this territorywill now speak to you. we cannot live together on this land.
war among the whitesis nearly through. the great father will have nothingto do with his soldiers except send them outafter the indians. your people must maketheir peace with us. i have done my best to keep my young men quiet, but they do not always listen. by their rebellion,they seek to help the greycoat traitorswho make war on us.
we do not fightthe white man's war. all cheyenne have ears open. white antelope proud to see all white chiefs of this country. since i go washington and received this medal, i have been proud to call all white men brothers. whatever peace you make
must be with the soldiers,not with me. i am not a great war chief. but in this country,all the soldiers are under my command. my rule of fighting, whether it's the greycoatsfrom the south or the indians, is to fight themuntil they lay down all their arms and submit to military authority. when you are ready to do that, then major wynkoop...
...major wynkoop at fort lyon will seeto all your needs. what is he saying? does he understand thatwe are for peace? please, everybody, look this way. that's no captive.she's one of them. black kettle, it is an honourfor me to present to you - the flag of the united states.- everyone, very still. with all due respect, gentlemen,
the cheyenne don't want a war. i believe their pledges to be sincere. and what will i do with the third colorado volunteersif we make peace? the third was raisedprimarily to kill indians. then they must kill indians. the tall chief said as long as this flagflies above our camp, no soldiers will harm us.
margaret light shineshad lifted the people's spirits with the magic of thewhite man's shadow box. now black kettle calledon the young men who remained behind to search for the buffalo. - riders coming in!- the gate! major! see that these men are fedand given a place to rest. we march on the hostilesat sand creek tonight. but i've heardof no new provocations, sir.
don't you knowthe cheyenne nation is guilty of robbery, arson, murder,rape and fiendish torture? not sparing women and children. i feel it is rightto use any means under god's heaven - to end these outrages.- including murder, colonel? - first sergeant ode!- sir! post a ring of picketsaround the perimeter of this post. any man trying to leave will be shot.understood? yes, sir!
damn any manin sympathy with the indian. well, when will you leave? you havebrought us much happiness. but it's good you shouldreturn to your people. many white people will seethe cheyenne as they really are. they will understandthat your spirits are peaceful. i will keep this one. for my wife. of course.
this is good medicine. my husband and i can never repay youfor the kindness you have shown us. you go in peace, my granddaughter. may one day your heartwill be full again. sand creek villagenovember 29, 1864 off with your overcoats, men. you'll fight better without'em. remember the hungates. you look back onthe plains of the platte,
where your mothers, fathers,brothers and sisters were slain, - their blood saturating the sands.- yeah! take no prisoners. kill 'em all. scalp'em all. that's right. every last one! margaret! listen to me. take this and fasten it to the topof the flag as quickly as you can. the soldiers will see! stop! stop!
soldiers! hurry! nothing lives long exceptthe earth and the mountains... remember the hungates! no! no! no! no, don't shoot. no, don't shoot. ethan! ethan! ethan! when you return to your people, tell them...
tell them a great shame fills my heart. you are my people now. now you see how these savagestreat their prisoners, major? damn you to hell, colonel. you wanted war.now you're gonna have it. north platte 300 mileswest of omaha october, 1866 two rails every 30 seconds,one on each side. four rails to the minute. three strokes per spike,ten spikes per rail.
four hundred rails to the mile. it's 1,800 miles to san francisco. twenty-one million timesthey got to swing those hammers. listen to that sound. that's money. money. it won't be long before this enterprisegets beyond the reach of any town. and men deprived of their diversionsare inclined to get restless. so if they can't come to town, why, then the town will just haveto come to them. get my meaning?
sure doesn't look like much. not now. there's gonna be thousands of boomerscoming to the north platte from omaha. men with nothingto do once winter sets in. right here.right here is where we're going to stake our own little claim. our own little empire. good work. omaha take me with you.
no womenfolk allowed. it's just gonna be father,me and jackson. thomas is to seeto business here. you and lilly, you look after ma. i can work as hardas any of your brothers. harder, i expect. well, what is it, then? you know father. you're not like him. you are decent.
two staves. supposed to be three. father is father.he is who he is. there's no use trying to change him. family's family.you know what it's like... they were taken from me. out here we can makeour own way in life. robert, some of ushaven't got a choice. we've all of us got a choice.
first wheelers came out here,it was all wild country. grandpa's cousin jacob?he was the first to come out. you should hear our stories about him. they tamed so much of it. i figure the railroadwill tame what's left. there isn't going to bemuch of a west once it's finished. i guess i just want to see itbefore it goes. that's all. let me see it with you. you're all i have left.
you are my only family. father's gonna havehimself a proper fit. - then you'll help me?- i... can't make promises. i'm going to take two mallets. dog star had once believed the whitemen would some day leave the land. black hills,dakota territory now with his grandson, white bird,and his son, sleeping bear, he saw them comelike a prairie fire on hot wind. many passedthrough the sacred ground,
where the hoop of the worldbent to the four directions, seeking the yellow stonethat made them crazy. dog star had heard how the long knives repaid black kettle'spromise of peace. he feared that a similar fateawaited his people. some promised to fight until every white manwas driven from their sacred land. the bravest of these leaders sent hismessengers riding through the nation. dog star's brother running foxanswered the call to battle
and invited the great warriorto speak to their village. his namewas makhpiya-luta: red cloud. whose voice was firstsounded on this land? ours. i did not ask for or want what happened to this land. i have a small piece of land left and i don't want the white manto make an iron road through it. as long as i live
i'm going to keep this land. red cloud spoke, and white crow,his son red lance, and many young menwere inspired to follow him to protect their land. sleeping bear and white birdalso wished to fight, but dog star had alreadylost one son to the white man and did not wishto sacrifice another. keep it straight, lads. cape horn,northern california
celestials. worse than savages, you are.half-made men. what do you knowabout railroad construction? they built thegreat wall of china, didn't they? come on. movie. movie.quickie. quickie. come on, lads.keep it straight. - you got a problem?- men say you indian. yeah. what of it? never seen indian.very afraid you eat them.
well, i never had a celestial before. might like to try me one. abe wheeler. chow-ping. what bad luck bringsyou here, chow-ping? before here, gam san. gold mountain. fan gway steal claim. gold not for chinese, he say. "fan gway"?
white ghost. demon. fan gway stand, talk,tell us what to do. call us "coolies." chinese like indian. fan gway hit, steal, cheat. come on, lads. break your backs.keep 'em straight. incline's 75 degrees.that face is straight up. we got to clear a shelf three mileslong across that bastard of a rock. your plan to accomplish this,mr strobridge? damned if i know, sir!
one-eye bossy manthink road not possible. use very bad language.but road possible. how? well, i'll be. there's one thing the chineseknow something about, it's gunpowder. ready! chow-ping! ft phil kearny, wyomingterritory december 20, 1866 the white man's forts spread likea stain across the people's land.
white crow and red lance joinedthe warriors of red cloud. there they would fight to removeany mark of the white man. this would be a different kind of war, fought like no other. it would be a war of watching,of waiting. i have tested the long knives. it is easy to trick them. their officers are easily angered. it makes them stupid.
if we attack them, the soldierswill protect the supply train. we will wait for them on the other side of the ridge. from each clan... ...two young men will be chosen... and they will bring the long knives into this ravine. i want to be one of them.
my son, red lance, wantsto count his first coup. crazy horse will lead you all. when i was thirteen years old i took my first horse. tomorrow you too will become a man. i will take many scalps. this is no boy's game. if you want to kill white men... ...you must think like them.
you must not hurry. you must be patient. captain! the supply trainis being fired upon. quickly! support the supply train,captain fetterman. relieve it and report back. under no circumstances are youto pursue and engage the indians over lodge trail ridge.is that understood? yes, sir. no pursuitbeyond lodge trail ridge.
colonel carrington, sir. come on! godspeed, captain. company, halt! that's lodge trail ridge,captain fetterman. what's he doing? please. you will not take his scalp. this warrior fought bravely. we will honour him.
donner summit, sierra nevadas 7000 feet above sea levelfebruary, 1867 we're never gonna break out of thatrock. we've been trying for a year. fan gway say move mountain, but mountain don't want to move. that's white man's logic. don't try to understand it.you'll go crazy trying. you got people back whereyou come from, chow-ping? have wife in home village.
one day i finish here, say to her, "you come now." give her silk dress.we go live in tai fau. tai fau. san francisco, right? you learn chinese real good. i've been studying your phrase books. learned how to writea little of your alphabet. you have village? americans don't belongto any one place.
just when we get settled, we up andget restless for something different. i rode the pony expresstill it played out. never as free as wheni was on the back of a horse. nothin' steady after that. why you stay now? never been a partof something like this. something permanent. i think maybe i'll see it through,just this once. or maybe i'm just a crazy indian,like they all say.
north platte nebraskaterritory april, 1867 once, north platte had only been anempty prairie, 300 miles from omaha. ambitious men like daniel wheeler hadturned the wilderness into a boomtown. carnivorous swarms followed therailroad workers every step of the way, devouring their weekly payfaster than grasshoppers. jackson! - jackson!- coming, pa! - sure is flush times.- hell on wheels. should've seen the placebefore we civilised it.
i don't mind telling you, wheeler, that the union pacificfinds the very presence of a sinkhole like thisa noxious affront. i'd like to see you tryto stop it, casement. you'd have a mutiny on your hands. might be wiser for you to startthinking of us as informal partners. you appropriated railroad landfor illicit purposes and sold it to other speculatorsat five times its value. don't bellyache to meif the union pacific swells
couldn't see the potentialof their own right-of-way. do not presume to lecture meon what's good for the railroad. no. that's for you. your masters back eastdon't need any lessons. government bonds. $16,000 a milefor flatlands graded and tracked. $32,000 a mile for foothills, $64,000 a mile for mountains. tell me, casement. how many so-called "mountains"
has the union pacificclimbed thus far? you, sir, are a rank opportunist. welcome to north platte, sir. king of the plains emporiumis the place. best tables, best liquor. the best-iooking women too.let me get that. here you go. give us this day our daily strangers. - hey.- i have your britches ready. gonna get that wheel fixed, son.
- you'd never know they were ripped.- five cents, please. almost forgot. those are getting pretty worn.you ought to let me make you a new pair. - you'd do that?- yeah. - like that.- i'll have to measure you. ok. step right up. raise your arms out like this. looks like you're prospering.
if i save up enough money,i can get my own shop, and i won't have to rentfrom your father anymore. you deserve finer things, clara. so do you. robert! see ya. - you're needed at the shop.- yes, sir. don't let me see you idling.especially with that girl. "that girl" has a name, father.
it's clara. about timeyou got used to saying it! these miscreants will not troubleyour establishment again. what about my money, colonel? are you goingto make good these men's debts? good day, sir. you all come back now, yankee! soldiering in the westwas a lonely, miserable affair. some men deserted outright. others fell into bad habits.
before officers like george armstrongcuster could tame any indians, they first had to tame their own men. my son, jacob jr, didn't likewhat the army had become, but still thought his skills could beused to preserve peace on the frontier. when custer took chargeof the 7th cavalry, jacob knew it wouldn't be long beforehis job went from scoutin' to killin'. i don't reckon this display will help morale any. the men's morale will improve whenthey've been given indians to fight.
for that, gentlemen,i have relied upon your good offices, to no avail, it seems. funny thing about indians, colonel. they ain't so easy to findwhen they don't want to be. let me offer you an alternativeexplanation, mr wheeler. you being half-breeds,have not applied yourself to the work with therequisite enthusiasm. the 7h cavalry has been chargedwith clearing these plains of savages from the arkansas to the platte.
all depredations on lands beingopened up by the railroad are to cease. you will oblige me by performingyour duties without further delay. have i made myself clear? as day, colonel. we're finished here. dismissed. thank you, trooper.that will be sufficient. we're through. donovan! we're through! they've done it!they've bloody done it!
it's not possible! they built the great wall of china,didn't they? you should be proud of yourselves. let's see the union pacifictry to beat us now! step aside, ladies! we did that. eastward, men! eastward to victory! we did it, boys! medicine lodge creekoctober, 1867
margaret light shines had followed blackkettle's people in their wanderings. she began to live the lifeof her mother before her. when the long knife chief shermancame to speak words of friendship, she listened, but she no longertrusted any white man. it was white menwho had killed her husband. the iron horse is now crossing the landsbetween the arkansas and the platte. but there is landsouth of the arkansas, and before it's taken, we'd liketo set aside a part of it for your home. on this home we'll build a houseto hold the goods we'll send.
to this home we'll send a physician to live with you and heal your sick. we will send a farmer to teachyour people to grow corn and wheat, and a mill to makefor you meal and flour. for all this you'll receive anallowance of $20,000 each 12-moon, to be spent by thewhite father on your behalf. he says, "why do you come here? because red cloudhas killed so many bluecoats. this is the timefor fighting, not talking."
from this day forward, all war between the partiesto this agreement shall forever cease. war will end in the totaldestruction of the indian because his numbers are less. we have prepared peace papers. we ask that your chiefsand head men hold their councils and meet with us when the shadowsare long to sign these papers. many wrongs havebeen done my people,
but i still live in hope. i have not got two hearts. north platte i got it. here, load this one. what am i paying you for?get to work! get to work! move this stuff. i'm sending the girl back to omaha. she belongswith your mother and sister. - i won't let you do that.- you won't let me. you won't let me?
you've been seducedby girlish blandishments. - it's not like that.- yes, it is. if you want to expend some ofthat surplus of manly urges you've got, do it in one of our establishments... - stop it!- i got women could teach that slut... - i said shut your mouth!- robert! stop! - robert. stop. please.- get off him. i will let this pass. for now. don't make me choose.
what are you looking at? sorry. i didn'tmean to startle you. it was about me, what happened beforewith your father. wasn't it? it's not just the landthat's changing, clara. it's people. me. you are oneof the "better angels". better angels, huh? "better angels of our nature."
that's what mr lincoln called them. got a spot over there! that's mine! how could a countryso beautiful make men so cruel? and so the towns came and went, cheyenne, wyoming territorymay, 1868 julesburg, sidney,potter, kimball, archer. at every stop the empiredaniel wheeler sought for his family grew a little larger.
then came cheyenne,the magic city of the plains, nearly halfway between omahaand the shores of california. the wheelershad become men of substance, but robert knew that something moreimportant had been lost along the tracks and he aimed to get it back. - hello, robert.- let me help you. that's a pretty dress, clara. it speaksof a real delicate sensibility. delicate? my, is that how you see me?
no! i was just... look, all i meant to say was it's nice to see some refinementin a place such as this. well, you did just what you saidyou would. i'm proud of you. let me show you something. clara... - these are...- vanities, i know. no. no. not at all.these are... great. i never thoughti'd take up drawing again.
when i was a girl,i had such ambitions. i dreamed of owninga ladies' emporium in a placelike new york or san francisco. i imagined myself travelling to all the great capitalsof europe and... i had time to dream then,i suppose. you should neverstop dreaming, clara. that was bold of me, i know. not nearly bold enough,robert wheeler.
humboldt sink, great basin,nevada, june, 1868 donovan! a jackrabbit would needa canteen and a haversack to get through this desert. makes mewish we were back in the mountains. damn it! put your backs into it! every mile we make, themother-ioving union pacific makes four. now you work as thoughheaven itself were before you and hell behind you! this isn't a ladies' social, donovan!
beggin' your pardon,mr strobridge. you work these men any harder,you're not gonna have one left. the heat, sir. you get these cursed celestials digging! if you don't get thesechinese working, donovan, you and the other walking bosses willhave to take their place on the line. - i'm afraid i can't do that.- what did you say? - can't or won't?- no disrespect meant, sir. we're gonna finish this railroadtogether, or we're not gonna finish it!
give the men a day of rest. we resume workfirst light tomorrow morning. thought you said you didn'thave any use for the chinese. got even less for bosses. ft phil kearny, wyomingterritory august, 1868 after two years, the long knivesabandoned their forts and signed a treaty that gave the sacred landsback to the lakota. red cloud had done what no man,
white or indian, thought possible. young warriors took heartfrom this great victory. many who had goneto the reservations began to returnto their hunting grounds. there they found more white men. the circle of violence was renewed. punishment fell on thosewho did not seek war. black kettle's campwashita river see that, mr wheeler?a presentiment of victory.
heaven sent, colonel. fine work, scouts.i will send for you if i have need. the garry owen,if you please, corporal. soldiers! - soldiers! all around us!- see to the women. save as many as you can. we're living in the nightmare.may we meet again. colonel wants to see you. give me that coat! now!
get moving! go on! fort hays, kansas7th cavalry headquarters that one doesn't look like sucha bad sort, does she, armstrong? their women possess a fierceness not found in our more refined sex. those that have not been too degradedby being mere chattels may yet learn somerudimentary manners. and what's your name?
this one goes by margaret, ma'am. margaret. that's a lovely name. it's nice to have met you, margaret. i'm taking you away from here. that's the one! you tell the lieutenantto mind his privates. this one's a wildcat. no! take me back! stop fighting!ain't nothing gonna happen.
you're nothing but a murdererjust like the rest of them! listen to me! listen to me! i'm gonna march youthrough that gate. there's a ponywaiting at the corral. get on it.you gonna ride clear of here. - no! i won't!- no! take me back! you don't belong with these people.you don't belong with them. these people.
they're my sisters... ...and my mothers and my children. and my brothers. - i won't leave them.- you ain't talking sense, margaret. how can i ever face ma and paif i don't see you safe out of here? you tell them... ...their daughter margaret died at sand creek. lyohmeahwe lived to see the white man
keep his promises on the washita. you tell them that the hole in my heart is now filled with sorrow. that i can never be who i was. tell them that i love them. will you do that for me, jacob? you tell them these things, jacob. the lines will meetat promontory summit.
utah's mormon country. but they say brother brigham appreciatesthe worth of a gentile dollar. they drive that last spike,our real opportunities begin. we'll have our pickof the spur lines and... - hauling contracts.- yes. i don't want any part of it. i had hoped to bestow upon youour family's good fortune. that is my obligationas it is yours to respect and serveour businesses here.
and i'll carry out my dutiesuntil the rails meet. i owe you that. once it's finished,i'm striking out on my own. you display no aptitudefor enterprise, sir. that girl has a better headfor business than you'll ever have. - i underestimated her.- clara, father. can you say her name? clara. - clara.- yeah. she makes people nice things. taking advantage of their weaknessdoesn't seem much of a business to me.
different times callfor different methods. that's progress. i supposei don't want much part of it. you'd better think hardon your future, boy. you boys earned it.i'll fill it for you. the union pacific. late as usual. promontory point, utahmay 10, 1869 for my wayward son, abe, that may morningwas a triumph like no other. a ribbon of ironstretched 1,800 miles,
from the mississippito the pacific ocean. when those final rails were laid, america changed forever. the final spike! preacher! some men fancied that they representedthe future of that new america, but it was men and womenlike robert and clara who would cometo embody its true spirit. their pluck and determinationwould be sorely tested
- in the years that lay ahead....we celebrate here today. bless this majestic roadand all those who ride upon it. - may they and their business prosper...- amen! where we now stand,but a few months since could be seen nothingbut the path of the red man. now a thousand wheelswill bear on their axles the wealth of half the world,drawn by the iron horse, darkening the landscapewith its smoky breath and startling the wild indianwith its piercing scream.
we are a great people and can accomplish great things. you micks get down off that train. let's get thereal railroad men on here! all right. time for a photograph. all you micks back up. get down from those rails,you chinese. come on! at least we got this to show for it. they can't ever take this away from us.
good luck in tai fau. you watch out for fan gway. can't escape'em.they're everywhere. hold still now. black hills great siouxreservation july, 1874 - go, go, go!- yeah! all right! well, jake. what do you make of it? it's an indian sacred place.
like a church. the hell you say. you may tell your readers, gentlemen, that this expeditionhas thus far exceeded my most sanguine expectations. we have discovereda rich and beautiful country, abundant game, fertile land. in short, all the bounties necessaryfor the establishment of civilization. the laramie treaty of '68made this indian land, general custer.
part of the great sioux reservation? now, the sioux, they may nottake too kindly to trespassers. i shall recommendthe extinguishment of indian title at the earliest moment practicablefor military purposes. if congress should supportthe settlement of the black hills, rest assured,the army will do its duty. gold! gold! gold! jake, come on!
pay dirt, boys. hillsgate, dakota territorythree months later officially, the army sent custer intoblack hills to map out the site of a new fort to protectthe northern railroad, and though the gold he'd found didn'tamount to more than a 50-cent diggin', it wasn't long before the newspapers proclaimed the place"the el dorado of america." every day, immigrants camein hope of striking their fortune. like so many before them,
most brought only their dreamsand the clothes on their backs. some would makea new life for themselves. others would find only heartbreak. with the people came the townsand the camps, hundreds of 'em. for every man who got rich on gold, another ten madea killing on the miners. nobody seemed to care that the landwasn't theirs to claim. some men of business,like robert wheeler, found themselves in theright place at the right time.
the opportunitiesseemed downright endless. one at a time, gentlemen.one at a time. please don't shove.there's enough to go around. - how do you get to the black hills?- freedom trail. ten dollars'll get youa ride in my wagon. - ten dollars?- yes, sir. it cost me half thatby train from chicago. well, sir, you can wait until theybuild a railroad to the black hills, or you can hand overten dollars and hop on.
- one over there on the left.- yeah, that's it. who needs pans?there you go. i trade with the sioux at the agency. they know me as a friend.they'll give us safe passage. whoa, whoa. what about them? they friends of yours too? those aren't indians.bushwhackers! red cloud agencydakota territory
red cloud had won for his peoplea protected place in the sacred lands. now the country promisedforever to the lakota was being overrun with white men. for hot bloods like red lanceand his brother voices that carry, the time for fighting was drawing near. the white father has sent me amessage on the talking wire. he says the soldiers will chase awaythe men who seek the yellow dust. the peace talkers will come. red cloud once drove thelong knives from their forts.
now he lives on the white man'sreservation, and speaks the white man's words. because one man makes a mark on the white man's paper,we will not move from our lodges. these are our lands. those who think... we can fight with the white man... as we did seven winters past... speak like young men seekingto take their first scalp.
let us wait for the peace talkers. even white bird, your grandson,wishes to fight. i saw myself killlong knives in a dream. a man cannot ignorehis dream, white bird. but be sure it is your dream... and not that of another. my clan will follow sitting bull. voices that carry is still a boy. let him stay with me. i willteach him to keep the winter count.
i have never killed a buffalo,and i have never taken a scalp. i want to be like you. your time will come to be a warrior. the great cheyenne warrior roman nosegave this to me. take care of it. hillsgate,dakota territory "gentlemen may cry peace, but thereis no peace. the war is actually begun." do you see this exclamation point that mr patrick henryput there after "begun"?
a little stronger next time,hans, but very good. mr kurtz? "is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the priceof chains and slavery? forbid it, almighty god!" very good! very good. very good. i think that's enough for today,and you all need to be gettin' home. i will see you next sunday.
oh, children, your gifts areso sweet but entirely unnecessary. please, just get and go. get. shoo. you put in paper like so,touch the keys, and presto! out comes a letter with allthe quality of newspaper print. behold. with this device,and a little manual prestidigitation, the tedious labour of businesscorrespondence may be cut in half. most ingenious.
may i put the lady proprietressdown for an order? - i'll take one!- yes, sir. pickings were good out there, clara. better than i expected. ran out of suppliesbefore i ran out of miners. i figure it'll require a trip to omaha, maybe kansas city, to restock. i won't have you goingback into those hills! i couldn't sleep,not knowin' whether you were alive
or out mouldering onthe plains somewhere. hey. hey, hey, hey. i didn't mean to cause you grief, clara. it's just... i have ambitions. for both of us. one day, you'll have a proper gold bandand not some old saddle ring. iron is stronger than gold.
i wouldn't trade this ringfor the world. it was made for a simple purpose,just like the man who gave it to me. somethin' happened. what happened? i killed two men. i looked down the barrel of my sharps... ...and i thoughti'd never see you again. so i shot. even though i didn't have to.
so much for purpose, i suppose. red cloud agencyseptember, 1875 it will be hard for our governmentto keep the whites out of the hills. to try to do so will give your peopleand my government... ...great trouble. because the whites who may wish togo into these hills are very numerous. i want our great father to send us meat. and flour and coffee. and sugar and tea... and bacon.
and corn and beans. and tobacco. i want this for all the people and for the childrenand seven times their children. firm offer is $400,000 a yearfor the mineral rights. now if you should wishto sell the black hills outright, the price will be $6 million,payable in 15 annual instalments. i will go to the white fatherin washington and smoke pipe with him. you have heard his words,
which cannot be alteredeven to the scratch of a pen. what kind of harvest? just shy of a hundred. been a while. buffalo harder to find than a job. southern herd's almost gone. what are you asking? three dollars per. you buyin'? i can offer you a dollar per hide,and i consider that more than fair.
- i'll take one more.- i consider that to be robbery with a smile undera high top hat, hillman. last time the price was $6. the rage for buffalo bedspreads andother accoutrements back east has ended. most definitively. leave the buffaloto their extinction, sir. they've served their purpose. on the train from new york to hillsgate,i saw the future. - bones.- bones?
buffalo bones. the detritus of sporting menlured by a $3 rail pass and the promise of gamethere for the taking. carcasses left to rotcreate a mighty stench. but in that smell, an enterprising manmay detect the odour of money. bones can be ground to makefertiliser and fine china. and that's only the beginning. a man can earn himself eight, nine,perhaps as much as ten dollars a ton. damn it!
i broke away from my fatherso that we could have a life together, and i mean to make it a good one. i know, but your dreamsare not your own. they're your father's. clara, all the moneywe made on the miners, we lost on the hides. - i wouldn't be gone long.- you're gone often enough. give me a reason to stay. you spend all your timewet-nursing those squareheads.
- robert...- it makes me sick to my stomach to see... to see youteaching those damn kids when you're too afraid to haveanother child of your own! i'm sorry. - i didn't mean it.- yes, you did. i can't afford to feedthem i've already got, and now the government sends me more. - sign here to accept custody.- yeah. since the time of washita.
margaret light shines remaineda prisoner of the long knives, who herded their captives from campto camp like so many cattle. she became mother tothe many children left orphaned by war. they were her blessings, and she promised to neverleave them unprotected. get in one line! you understand me? back up! against the wall. ain't buying any more hides.
not buying? not selling 'em. watch it. i commend you, sir. captain pratt, 10th cavalry. robert wheeler. allow me to say, mr wheeler, that... ...you are the exceptionthat proves the rule. and what rule is that, captain?
i find the majority of traders to beunprincipled, unscrupulous rogues. a pack of veritable scoundrels,if you don't mind my saying so. that's a fine sentiment... ...coming from a man who makes widowsand orphans his stock-in-trade. call me a rogue? perhaps we both are, mr wheeler. we've denied these people fraternity. we've driven themfrom their ancestral homes. it has cost our peoplehundreds of millions of dollars
and led to the present shameful impasse. - just can't stop progress, captain.- what is progress but what men do? most men do what they will. others, what they deem to be right. where do you stand, mr wheeler? to be honest with you, sir,sometimes i'm not so sure. now that is a promising beginningto a man's education. good day, mr wheeler. this is the best i can do for you.
rations are the first of every month. no. we will not beg. you suit yourself. but you be damn sure youand these other squaws stay put. orders went out that any indianthat's not on agency land by january 31will be considered a hostile. are you savvy? - we will not make trouble for you.- well, you already have. this is our home now.
we will live well here... and depend on no one. no one. do you understand that? sitting bull's camp rosebud creekmontana territory you will go back to dog star. no. they do not live like menover there and i'm a man. my son, so you are. where are the soldiers?
what soldiers? dog star said if you didn't returnto the agency... the soldiers would come. when is this to be? tell it. after the moon of the popping trees. it is good you havebrought us this message. sitting bull sensed the spiritsof the long knives, who had been sent tocapture him and his people
and force them to live like white men. he sought a vision to prepare himselffor the great struggle. he promised a scarlet blanketof his own blood to wakan tanka. the sky was full with soldiers and they fell into our camp. a voice in the sky said this. "take these soldiers." "they don't listen.they have no ears." "i give you these soldiers,but leave what belongs to them."
the great spiritgives us those soldiers. yellowstone rivermontana territory june 14, 1876 listen to this:"general george armstrong custer, dressed in a dashing suit of buckskin, is prominent everywhere, taking ineverything connected with his command with the keen, incisive mannerfor which he is so well known." yeah, well, ain't every command's got its own pet newspapermantagging along.
i want you, reno and benteento follow their trail up the rosebud. gibbons and iwill march up the yellowstone to a blocking position hereat the mouth of the little bighorn. now don't be greedy, custer. there's indians enough for all of us. wait for us. no, i don't think i will. answer me something. if you think custer's so infernal bad,why do you ride with him?
it's better to know a deviland confound his purpose than to just leave him be. little bighorn rivermontana territory june 25, 1876 sitting bull's vision inspiredwarriors to leave the reservation, they pledged themselves to the deathto defend the sacred paha sapa. sitting bull moved the people to the banks of the rivercalled the greasy grass, where the game was plentiful. there the warriors readied themselves.
they waited for the daythe sky would rain long knives. what did you see, mr wheeler? - horses.- horses? more than i can count.looked like a brown wave across the hills, just onthe other side of little bighorn. we will strike the village immediately. sir, with all due respect. i think it best that we waitfor our reinforcements to arrive. i will not risk the chanceof our quarry escaping.
major reno will lead his men acrossthe river to flush out the hostiles. i will lead five companies northto cut off the indians' retreat. if i go to other side,i go as crow, not white man. deliver this to captain benteenon our left flank. he is to join the attack after wehave engaged and routed the enemy. - yes, sir.- what are they doing? bad omens. they see death. you've done your work.you found the sioux.
if you're so afraid of them, go now. leave the fighting to us. looks like us reno boysget the honours today, jake. major's offering 30 days furloughto the man who takes the first scalp. i want you to take this. if anything happens,make sure it gets delivered to my folks. sure thing, jake. hey, jake. least we ain't ridin'with ol' hard-ass custer.
- good luck to you.- you too. soldiers! soldiers! warriors! be brave! fight with courage. that day there would be many battles. first came the man reno. indians, they had told him, would run at the fearful sightof his horse hooves. but these indians did not run.
the scouts had spoken to the long haircuster, but he had no ears. he was certain of his great victory. he led his men towards those he knewwould be escaping the battle, but met only warriors. the hunter was aboutto become the hunted. i am lakota! please, god, not like this. the fighting on the ridge lasted no longer than a hungry mantakes to eat his meal.
the vision of sitting bullhad come to pass. the long kniveshad fallen into his village. the people did not heedsitting bull's warnings to leave the soldiers'possessions untouched. sitting bull knew these mattersweighed heavily with wakan tanka. while many celebrated,others sang death songs. you will take white birdback to his father and you will tell this to dog star... white bird fought bravely.
hillsgate, dakota territoryjuly, 1876 congress and the army betterdo something, and damn quick too! kill every one of thembloodthirsty heathens! this town's been sitting ona powder keg better part of a year. only a matter of timebefore it exploded. storekeep! you give me a gunand all the ammo you got! we're closed, sir,out of respect for the dead. i wish he'd open and let ustake care of this. he wouldn't open. we'll get 'em somewhere else.
it's horrible to think of childrencoming into such a world. what happened to the babywasn't your fault. - we need more ammo!- we'll make them pay! you're a good mother, clara. only... ...don't shut me out. the baby was... he was my son too. i'm so sorry.
so am i. you. stay inside! he was first in battle. there are no wounds on his back. are you proud of this? will you use such fine wordswhen your sons lay dead? those poor boys. i salute you, sergeant.you're a hero.
- thank you.- let me give you some food. - thank you kindly.- sir? here you are. here you go. good job. - for you.- thank you, ma'am. god bless you. - godspeed, boys.- water your horses. this town got a postmaster? that'd be me. you're first civilizationwe've seen since...
what can i do for you, trooper? i... promised a friend... ...his folks would get this. i'll see to it. he was a good man. he always spoke well of his family. please take this. thank you kindly, ma'am. dearest mother and father,
i'm off on a fool's mission andcannot be certain of the outcome. there's not time for me to writeall the things i wish to tell you. many a time have i thoughtto abandon my charge here rather than submitto the wilfulness of others who have been placed above me. i have always tried to act accordingto the lessons of duty and honour that have been your legacy to me. i've travelled far and seen too much,but always i think of home. you are both in my prayers.
i remain forever your loving son, jacob. can i help you, ma'am? yes. we're lookingfor the person who sent this. robert? he was your son? the man who gave you the letter. did he tell you anything? only that your son was a good man,and he loved his family. i want to see the placewhere it happened.
battlefield's two daysby wagon, ma'am. that's perilous country. army can't vouch yet for its security. and there's no tellingwhere your son might lie. we'll pay you anything you ask. please? keep your money. do you have any children? i had a son.
a beautiful boy. william. a fever took him. life is very fragile. most of the things i ever lovedhave been taken from me. do you love your husband? with all my heart. then always hold that love close to you. let it sustain you. like this.
i heard tell of a jacob wheeler. well, there are wheelersscattered all over this country. they say that this one... ...took off with a mountain man. married an indian woman. grandfather usedto tell me stories about him. what kind of stories? about how he rodewith fremont to california. struck it rich.
well, if a man lives long enough, he gets to hearthe stories and the legends folks tell about him. i reckon i've lived that long. maybe too long. i need some tobacco. find my son, wakan tanka. take his hand and lead him on hisjourney across the hanging road. let his spirit...
...and the spiritsof all these young men who died before their time... ...shine like the stars in the sky. there may we mothersfind them and say, "there. that is my son." many long knives came to avengethe death of the man called custer. because they could not findcrazy horse and sitting bull, their anger fell on thosealready on the reservations.
the great council in washington declaredall indians to be prisoners of war. the lakota, they said, had broken the promiseof the treaty paper. the most sacred of sacred lands,the paha sapa, promised forever to the lakota people,now belonged to the white man, and he would never give it back. loved by the buffalohad begun to see the truth of growling bear's vision,and it pained his heart. he felt the loss of the powerof wakan tanka
and knew that the time was sooncoming to return to his people without having found the answershe had sought for so long. hillsgate, dakota territory495 mr wheeler. captain pratt. you remember. well, not likely to forgetour last encounter. "exception to the rule,"i believe you called me. not only that, i see,but a man of many skills.
nah, this just keepsbreath and bone together. i come from a family of wheelwrights. your business prospers? ice storm killedmost of the cattle last year. destroyed most of the wheat. drought finished off the rest. farmers who bought goods on credit,they had nothing left to sell or barter. nature can be a stern taskmaster. the idea of a general store'sbecoming obsolete.
man can find everything he needsnowadays in montgomery ward or sears and roebuck catalogues. everything but purpose, mr wheeler. i guess. can i offer you a brandyand cigar, captain, or do you abstain from ardent spirits? i should, but i do not. thank you, mr wheeler. i had occasion to observeyour classroom today, mrs wheeler.
- your way with children is commendable.- well, thank you. the parents bring so manyof their old ways and prejudices. if you don't help the children early on,they'll never adjust to their new lives. my view precisely. - thank you.- you mentioned a proposition. indeed. it is a great mistake to think that the indianis born an inevitable savage. he is born a blank,like the rest of us.
left in the surroundings of savagery,one naturally becomes a savage. but transfer the savage-born infantto the surroundings of civilization, and he will grow to possessa civilised language and habit. president hayes and the congress have granted me the use of barracksin carlisle, pennsylvania, for a model indian school andauthorised me to recruit 125 children from here and the territoriesfor its inaugural class. that's so far away. surely the reservationis a better place.
the reservation worksto colonise the indian, not individualise him. if the indian is to be assimilated, he must be gotten into the swimof american citizenship. he must feel the touch of itday after day until he becomes saturatedwith the spirit of it. immerse the indianin the waters of civilization and hold him thereuntil he is thoroughly soaked. in short, sirs,by being placed in good schools,
taught our language and industriesand going out among our people, your childrencan become useful americans. you see yourselves the evidencethat this is now the white man's land. there's nothing left for youbut to become a part of it all. white man smart. he speak many promises. more and more. white man keep one.he say he take our land. now he take our land.
and why was that land taken? because you can neither read nor write. because you are not educated. these mountains, valleys and streamshave passed from you. the people who take these mountains, these valleys, these streams, they steal, they lie. if you were all as smartas the white man, you would've known that there was goldin the black hills and dug it out.
you leave your affairsin the hands of the white man. this is why you come to grief. the white man will walk right over you unless you get up andstand in front of him as his equal. the way to do thisis to get his education. you see that i do notcome with soldiers to take your childrenfrom your very arms. i believe there are wise men among you who will themselves allowtheir fortunate sons and daughters
to partake in the white man's learning. red cloud has no childrento send to school... so why does he want to send ours? the whites are never satisfied. they have our land... and now they want our children. the man named pratt came here... and i think he speaks from the heart. our children must dobetter than we have.
why can't we go to school? there is powerin the white man's knowledge, but it can be dangerous too. so can you teach us? my grandchildren will go to school. voices that carry will watch over them. you can't make me go. i am not your son. my son and grandson are dead.
only with the white man's knowledge... can we keep what little we have left. do you understand? you believe that much in pratt's idea? i believe in us. i believe in what we can do together. after all that's happened? i want to stop dwelling in the past. everything i have that's precious
is right here in this moment. no! let me keep one son! remember your promise. fortitude, mrs wheeler.our task awaits. move 'em out! keep moving. carlisle, pennsylvaniaoctober, 1879 do what mr mortensen says.stay in line. one behind the other.
i'll take that. there. you're gonna be all right. come on, boy. - easy, child.- hey. - don't make this more difficult.- he's just scared. do you see these marks? each word is a white man's name. you will chooseone of these names for your own.
begin, please. hiram. meredith. walter. pearl. george. abigail. voices that carry. come along, children.get your clothes.
right this way. - move.- for you. find a bed. keep moving. - take these and put them on.- move along. - trousers.- find a bed. this is for you. get your clothes.keep moving. move. move along.
go in that room.find a bed. get your clothes. i can learn the white man's waysjust as well with long hair on. stop that boy, mr wheeler! there he is! - don't let him get away!- come on, now! i got him! i got him!i got him! hold on to him! this is to be expected.
stop struggling, you! an indian man only cuts his hairin times of great mourning. - if it's their tradition...- old habits must be unlearned. the sooner the better. got the devil in him. - enough of that.- nowhere to go now. thank you, everyone. back to your duties. - quickly now.- come on, now.
we won't have to go through that again. you too, mr wheeler. something wrong with his hair. mrs wheeler. is it right what we're doing? it all made so much sense. we have to give it more time, clara. captain pratt's a decent man. he knows what he's doing.
great spirit be compassionate to me. the universe is made of circles. no beginning and no end. the earth goes around the sunand the moon goes around the earth. the cross touches the circle four times. yesterday, you were indians. today, you are americans. hereafter, you will not speakin your native tongue. you will speak only english.
our purpose here at thecarlisle indian industrial school is to make you ready to takea useful place in the white man's world. there are four directions, four virtues. who knows them? courage. strength. wisdom. generosity. remember, there is no shamein hard work.
in work, there is freedom. make the most of your time here. you have no right to waste your own. still less, the time of others. each of us is born with one of these. all of you must findthe other three within you. dismissed. my great grandfathermade and fixed wheels as he marched with washington.
george washington? potomac? cherry tree. forget it. let me show you how a wheel's made. - hub.- hub. spokes. - spokes.- all right? - wheel.- wheel.
wear these underthe white man's clothes, that way you will rememberthe sun dance. george, why don't you give it a try? now find "a." now "b." please, continue. and "c"? go ahead.you were doing so well. outside.
now you listen to me, young man... unbutton your jacket. now! he stole barbed wire from your shopand made these for other boys. if we succeed, mr wheeler,carlisle will be the model for dozens, perhaps hundreds of otherindian schools all over the country. i believe that if we canturn george around, we can turn aroundthe most recalcitrant of them. i agree. i wonder if a slowertransition wouldn't be...
there is no time left for half-measures. to save the child,we must kill the indian, fully and completely. use your spoon. very good. remember what you learned. i cannot abide that man. how can he be so rightand so wrong at the same time? bite it. bite it! bite it! chew!
chew! chew! never speak indian again! never! you got your spokes set.now attach your felloes. make your rim. where's george? george? "lesson 24: the storyteller. peter parley was a great storyteller. this is known to all childrenwho have read his books."
i thought they might be sick. are you sick, boy? the white man's waysare like this fire. it burns, but if we are strongit cannot harm our spirit. it hurts. when you can touch the white man's wayand not feel the pain, then you have won. the younger boyswere no doubt corrupted. but george is a different matter.
with all due respect, you mightbe asking too much of these children. too much? you demean them, mr. wheeler. we don't demand the germans,for instance, become thoroughly americanbefore we admit them to this country. they arrive on our shores old and young,and must become americans at once. we don't feedour civilization to immigrants. we feed immigrants to our civilization. so let it be with the indian.
give me a chance to bring george around. i think i may havesome currency with him. very well, mr wheeler. i have come tothe regrettable realisation that you no longer sharemy views on education. but i'm willing to accedeto your methods. this once. captain pratt reminds me of my father. he's an immovable wall.
i wonder that he may notbe right in the end. will our child say that about you? my name is voices that carry. you are welcome. i know you can understandsome of what i say... ...and whatever you think, captain prattmeans well for your people. i'm a simple man, but i know this: knowledge is power.
and if you don't study our ways,how will your great-grandchildren know the meaning of your holy wheel? how will they know of your history? of your great victories? we tell these things. that's not enough, george. see, cos what we call historyis written by those who win the battles. so you must make your voice heard. you must preserve your culture.
you must write it down. in english. not for pratt, but for your childrenand their children. why i do what you tell me? white men say many things,mean nothing. that is true of some white men... ...and some indians, i expect. you're a young man, george. believe me, i know the natureof a young man's dreams.
don't stop dreaming. but remember, when you wake up,you're back in a white man's world. you have dream? i still got a few left. maybe it's not too lateto make them happen. and it is my considerable pleasureon this signal occasion to introduce... six months later ...our commencement theatrical,columbia's roll call, presented by the studentsof mrs clara wheeler.
a round of applause, please. are we the same boys who,with trinkets and toys, moccasins, blankets and paint,and a costume most quaint, on the sixth of october,the long journey over, came to this friendly roofsix months ago? yes, we are the very samewho to these good barracks came, where kindly friends a welcome gave us, did all they could to teach and save us from idle habits and bad ways
and carried us safely through the maze of reading, writing and of talking, and even improved our walking. heralds of fame and history,unroll your scroll of mystery. then with your silver trumpets blast, unloose the shut gates of the past and call columbia's heroes forth, proclaim them east,west, south and north. then boomed the pinta's signal gun,
the first that ever brokethe sleep of that new world. the sound echoing to forest depths,a continent awoke. i see a train of exiles standamid the desert desolate, the fathers of massachusetts land,the daring pioneers of fate who braved the perilsof sea and earth... you've taken our rivers and mountains,the plains where we loved to roam. banish us not to the mountainsand the lonely wastes for home! our clans that werestrongest and bravest are broken and powerless through you.
let us join the great tribe of white menas brothers to dare and to do. and still the ways of peacewe would follow, sow the seed and the sheaves gather in. share your labour,your learning, your worship, a life larger, better to win. then foeman no longer nor aliens, but brothers indeed we will be. and the sun find no citizens truer as he rolls to the uttermost sea.
you disappoint me, mr wheeler. comes from me tryingto please people too much. but a man's gotta stand for something,or he doesn't count for much. and what do you stand for, mr wheeler? do you even know yourself? i do... now, sir. it's time for me to go home... ...where i can do some good... ...my own way.
paiute reservation, nevada loved by the buffalo could not changegrowling bear's vision. november, 1889 now he sought to understand it. new prophets came with new visions. loved by the buffalo listened in hope. messiah. my children, brothers from all the nations,
you listen now. i have beento the white man's heaven. i have seen the white man's god. and he say to me, "one day a great spirit will come, bring back the buffalo, and all dead indians will come back and live again."
when this day comes, there will be no more sickness. all indians will be strong like young men. be young again. white people cannot hurt indians then. do not tell the white people this. follow my words. go back to your people.tell them to love one another. do not fight.
do not steal. do not lie. god showed me a dance, a dance to take to my people. go home. make this dance. all indians dancing. good times will come. pine ridge reservation,south dakota march, 1890
ten years had passed since robertand clara had left pennsylvania. robert had seen theland's promise turn bitter, but he was determined to carry onthe best way he knew how. yeah, the burial scaffoldsare outlawed now. lot of things have changed since theysplit up the reservation last year. now you've got pocketsof white settlers all over. i imagined it so differently. ten years is a long time, george. stand aside, please.
you give something. these rations are propertyof the us government. i'm just the man who delivers them. government have no stomach. you're gonna have to getyour rations from agent royer. royer. i'm sorry for your plight, but there's nothing i can do.now please stand aside. when your children cry for food,you will do nothing?
do you people want your rations or not? pay attention. next. no distributiontill the line is straight. can't you peopleunderstand what straight means? next. metal breasts. what's the news, wheeler? well, you're the reporters. - you tell me.- looks like he's got nothing for us,
as usual. well, i'm sorryto disappoint your readers. you'd think with all the hauling you dobetween here and standing rock, you'd see at leastone young buck on the warpath. you know, you boys could standto get out of the agency for a spell. why don't you talk to george?he arrived here on the overnight out of new york city. i'm sure he'd be happyto share his impressions. royer around?
you know he never showshis face on issue day. next. only coffee, flourand blanket this month. - no meat?- no meat, no sugar. flour, coffee, blanket. next. want bacon. children very sick. need food. bacon is meat. ingrates. you holding back on us here, wheeler?
why i want to talk to royer. a little business matter. no long hair. no more than one wife. no heathenish ways. no old religion. no drinking. no language but english. if you can accept these things, then step over thereand pick up your uniforms.
indian police are doing well. well, can't blame 'em for wanting something better, i suppose. things took a bad turn back in '88. crops failed two years running. the indians weren'tthe only ones who suffered. we were damn near wiped out. but clara, the boy and me,we saw ourselves through. she can't wait to see you.
"to see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour." isn't that a wonderful thought? to see a world in a grain of sand. how many timesdo we look without seeing? poetry teaches usto see things in a different way. there's no reason to be afraid of it.
who wants to try? read among yourselves. quietly. quite a dapper eastern gentlemanyou've become. good to see you, miss clara. don't be so formal.it's just plain clara now. yes, ma'am. i'll let you two get reacquainted. i've got some business with royer. come meet my pupils.
class, i want you to meetgeorge voices that carry. george was a student of minea long time ago. he used to live here in pine ridge. now he's come back, i hope to teach. no, not to teach. to learn. i lived amongthe white men for many years, but i am still lakota, like you, and there is muchto learn from our people. congress sets the policy. i'mcharged with carrying out its intent.
the beef allotment to this agencyhas been reduced by one million pounds. washington takes itscensus numbers quite seriously. it seems short-sighted, if you ask me. and what about this bill of lading? couldn't bring myself to refuse 'em.they were starving. i'll pay for the lost goods in full. your charity only exacerbatesa difficult situation. you may want to have a look at this. my colleague at standing rock,mr mclaughlin,
informs me that rumours of an indianmessiah are spreading like wildfire. he reassures me it is only a minorannoyance, but i have my doubts. well, no telling wheredesperate people will find hope. i can only do so much, mr wheeler.more than that i am not allowed. these peopleare suspicious of any changes. your predecessor, colonel gallagher, he was a hard man, but fair. they'd come to respect him. the new administration hasselected me to see to its affairs.
- maybe when you've been here longer...- as you say. - anything else you wish to discuss?- no. no, i figure we're through. i'll say good day then. let's go, people. keep it moving. where is your mother? our mother can not feed us. sitting bull's campstanding rock reservation i'm looking for red lance,
son of white crow,grandson of running fox. who looks for red lance? his brother, voices that carry. little brother, look at you. did they drink your blood,turn you into a wasichu? the wasichu did not defeat us. it was the wind and the snow of thegrandmother's land that was our enemy. and our father and grandfather? i'm sorry, brother... truly.
sitting bull was the lastto give up his rifle and horse. the long knives, they promised us land, but they lied. they made us prisoners. all of you? two years the soldierswatched over our tipis, and then the long hair came and took us. buffalo bill. he said he would pay us to be indians.
he showed us how to make facesand shake our tomahawks around. i've come to stay, brother. this is good. the messiah's medicine is powerful. many saw their relativesin the next world. this dance will make many problems. does the messiah say wewill fight the white man? when the time comes,the white man will go away. let the dance be taught to our people.
you believe in this manwovoka's vision? i believe in hope. june 1890 red cloud could stop this with a word, but the codgersays it's nothing to do with him. as i understand the dogma, it shares many of ourchristian principles. a harmless version of their sun dance. looks more like a war dance to me.
and you, mr wheeler, youconsider this demonstration harmless? this ought to be interesting, boys. i don't see any cause for that. i'll thank you to stay out ofgovernment business, mr wheeler. this obscene displaywill cease immediately! this prayer. white people pray, go heaven. - we go heaven too.- you will stop dancing and disperse! we should call him...
young man afraid of indians. get outta my way. - take this down.- make it fast. to the editor, new york herald. "the long-awaited violence herefinally exploded today..." i like that. "a band of hostilesconfronted the agent. royer acquitted himselfwithout bloodshed and broughta well-deserved end to the...
...pagan spectacleknown as the ghost dance. it is common knowledgethat the sioux never dance this... ...foul dance, except for one purpose,and that is war." september, 1890 you must be jedediah. you're... you're him. i reckon i am. when a man gets to a certain age, he wants to be close to those folksthat mean something to him.
what family we have left is... they're still in these parts. but it has all changed so much. makes you wonder what it'sgonna be like 100 years from now. bigger and faster. better, i suppose. don't know about better. sir... do i look anything like jedediah smith?
there's only one jedediah smith, son. but... ...let's have a look-see here. well, if you put on a few pounds and a few score years, and... ...rounded it offwith a beard, i'd say... ...nope. nothing like him. i often dream of margaret light shines. and you've had no word of her?
no. not a day goes by that i don't wishi could see my children again. if she's on the reservation,robert will find her. you can count on it. closer together now. that's it. all you bucks, give me a ferocious look. that's good. all right now. sergeant, take the rifle off the chief and hold it up.
a little higher. there it is! hold still now. "intrepid pine ridge police sergeants,old coyote and yellow earring apprehend renegade hostileson the warpath with custer's own rifles." yeah, that's good. one. two. three.
that was perfect. drink up, gentlemen. thank you so much. they are gonna eat this up in new york. you got permission for that? i got permission. ask royer. you might have seen her yourself. don't keep track of faces. standing rock reservation you let the fire go out.
didn't notice. what good are allthese white man's books if you don't know when you're cold? it's not that cold. you... read all these books? there's much to learn from them. what good is this knowledge? you have many questions, but... ...you have no desire to hear answers.
and you do not wish to learn. i've told you. the ghost dance is only superstition. spirits can't help our people.only we can do that for ourselves. you do not have ears.you will not listen. i bring you the promise of a day when no white manwill treat us badly again. when the sacred dead will live again. it is impossible for adead man to live again.
the white hairat the agency, mclaughlin, says soldiers will stop this dance. the soldiers will harm no one. the messiah has sent me a vision. this shirt is powerful medicine. it will stop the soldiers' bullets. red cloud and big foot'speople are dancing. sitting bull's people must also dance. cotton will not stop a lead bullet,no matter what kicking bear says.
to say "believe" or "do not believe," this is the white man's way. let them dance. this pernicious item, gentlemen, is known as a ghost shirt. among its many powers,it is alleged to stop bullets. so let us not deny furtherthat trouble is imminent. every one of these hostilesis prepared to use violence.
- i've been among them before.- what are you gonna do about it? we can do nothing until the interiordepartment and the war department provide explicit instructions. until then, we must all wait and be on our guardat the first sign of outbreak. if you just leave it alone,and likely as not, the whole crazewill die down on its own. mr mclaughlinat standing rock believes that as long as a single malcontentlike sitting bull remains at large,
that we cannot be secure. and i concur.if you lock up the ringleaders... then you're gonna havea real problem on your hands... ...not just in your imagination. is this a ghost shirt? ghost shirt, savvy? ghost shirt. what will you take for it? you... and me.
we make trade. - trade.- that's right. you want my camera. what's a squaw knowabout taking pictures? i'll tell you what. i'll give you... ...two american dollars. no can do. it's not for sale. hey, another camera's easy to come by. where in the hell else are yougonna find another ghost shirt?
lady, you got yourself a deal. - how about that?- that's nice. real nice. - i'm bullet-proof.- better not try it. needs mending. we best see to it. look at that. i'll be doggoned. i'm gonna go back to the barn and get some extra wireand tools and whatnot,
and we'll fix her. they busted in. won't they just bust out again? no, i don't think so. well, why not? maybe because thisis the land they remember. father. it makes my heart gladto see you with these children. you are a good mother to them.
as you were to me. my wandering must have caused you great worry and pain. forgive me. you were always our family's seeker. but the road you have chosenhas not been easy. there were so many times when i thoughtit was impossible to go on. but i remembered your strength,
how you carried on evenafter we thought father had died. that was the greatest giftyou gave to me. you helped me to endure. to live. when you're ready,you look through here, then you press this button. i'm happy you still take pictures. i didn't... ...after sand creek.
but it is all different now. "when in disgracewith fortune in men's eyes, i all alone beweep my outcast state, and trouble deaf heavenwith my bootless cries, wishing me liketo one more rich in hope..." what do you say now, mr wheeler? do you still think this craze,as you call it, is dying out? i have put upwith enough of this lunacy, and i intend to do something about it.duffy, take this down.
"to the commissionerof indian affairs in washington, wild indians are dancing,and cannot be induced to stop. the ghost dance hasassumed such proportions, both in numberand spirit of the adherents, that it is beyondthe control of the agent and the police force,who are openly defied by the dancers. the employees and thegovernment property of this agency has no protection, and we areat the mercy of these dancers. we need protection and we need it now.
this agent suggests sending a body oftroops sufficient to arrest the leaders, and imprison them and disarmthe balance of the reservation. nothing short of a thousand troops,backed by the proper artillery, will stop the proliferationof this diabolical dance." november 20, 1890 god bless ya, boys! december, 1890 halt! about face!
colonel forsyth, we are friends of the agent. we are friends of the soldiers. the great father's friends are my friends too. i want not any trouble for my people. we have no guns to fight with. we have nothing to eat. we are too poor to do anything.
you're not too poorto dance your ghost dance. many say i have been to this dance. that is not right. my eyes are sore. they do not see very well. but when they better, i go and see. we do not ask you to see it,we ask you to stop it. when winter comes, dancing stops. there will be no problems.
many of your peoplehave taken to the badlands. if they do not return, we'll have nochoice but to consider them hostile. they think the soldiershave come to kill us. i not believe this, but they are afraid for their families. you understand. and the warriors with them? what's to keep them from joining up withkicking bear or the other renegades? that is all i have to sayabout this question.
"the belligerent scalp-taker harangued listeners with a brazen speechin which hostilities were threatened. the army can do nothinguntil the redskins have broken out and the bucks have burned ranches - and slaughtered women and children..."- general miles' orders are specific. offer protection and maintain control. so we're all just expected to sit here? you are directed not to force any issue that might result in an outbreak.
discretion, mr royer. if you and other civilian authoritieshad demonstrated as much, the 7th would not be here nowto enforce order. what's going on? word is sitting bull's headed this way to join the renegades in the badlands. we'll be ready for him. i caution you against any supply tripsthrough standing rock. why is that?
general milesauthorised sitting bull's arrest. wouldn't it be betterto wait till ration day? the fewer people around,less cause for a disagreement. sitting bull's actionsrequire his immediate apprehension. well, could be just rumour. whatever the peopleof the press are telling you. i provide you this informationwith regard to your own safety. what you wishto do with it is not my concern. take it.
i can't. you are false to your peopleif you do not wear the ghost shirt. this way is the wayto death, red lance. maybe we can find our own road. maybe we canfind our own destiny again. you have too many wasichu ways. you even think like a wasichu! you play the savage for money,red lance! not me! december 15, 1890
indian police. what do you want here? you are my prisoner. you must go to the agency. let go of me! we were warriors together. now you do the white man's bidding. coming through! sitting bull is under arrest.
do not take him! protect our chief. - keep moving!- no! come with us. white hair mclaughlinonly wants to talk. don't listen to these troublemakers. come on. move! december 24, 1890 move it to the right a little more. apart from a few minor skirmishes,
most of the fugitives have beenpersuaded to return peaceably. hunger can be a powerfulinducement to surrender. we've still got thousandsholed up in the badlands, and no telling how many of sittingbull's people racing to meet them. our principal concern is chief big foot. abandoned his camp on thecheyenne river several days ago. lieutenant colonel sumnerintercepted him, demanded his return. big foot promised to do so, but during the night he slipped away.
where is he now? we think he intends to join the rebelsin a badland stronghold. i await word from our scouting parties. a very merry christmas indeed. he's wanted for the murderof an indian policeman. you don't know the circumstances. clara, the circumstances don't matter. if they catch him, they'll shoot him. surely, you're exaggerating.
have you seen what theseso-called reporters are writing? "the murderous redskinsare now whetting their knives in anticipation of the momentwhen they begin their bloody work." anybody with eyes in their headcan see the agency's peaceful. if george did... kill somebody, he did it with provocation. we'll say a prayer for him. he has the protection of tatanka. that is enough.
chief big foot's campthe badlands where do you come from? we come from the place where... ...the police have killed sitting bull. standing rock. we will go to pine ridge,to red cloud's people. red cloud will help us. we saw signs of many long knives. if the long knives come,
we will talk to them. let there be no fighting. i'm not who i once was, grandfather. none of us are who we were. it is enough that you havereturned to your people. i... i killed a man. not a wasichu. another lakota. i saw a darkness inside of you.
now i understand. i've lost my centre. the world has lost its centre. you ready for your christmas present? december 28, 1890 i won't parley with you. it's eitherunconditional surrender or fight. what is your answer? no fight.
where were you headed? pine ridge. make peace. you lied to our troops once before. why should we believe you now? no lie. i'm glad to find you peaceable. you and your peoplewill follow us back to our camp. we'll provide blankets, rations. i'll... have an ambulance sent forward.
you'll ride more comfortably. i guess i'm sick today. how far is the camp? five miles.the creek called wounded knee. you can't feed 400 people on this. your job is to deliverthe required rations to wounded knee, mr wheeler,not to question the order. i'm not questioning it. i'm just saying. don't fail to bring backyour key eyewitness observations.
why don't you climb aboardand see for yourself? thanks, wheeler, but... ...l'm forced to remainin the thick of activity. you style yourselves war correspondents, but the only fighting you've seenis at the bar at the hillsgate hotel where you lubricate your imaginations. pine ridge, south dakota. sunday, december 28th. the indian war here has collapsed.
chief big foot's defeated hostiles restfewer than 30 miles from this agency, apprehended by the gallant menof the famed 7th cavalry. the surrender is all but certain wounded knee creek to flush out renegades whichfor too long have held this agency and its surrounding settlementsin a virtual state of siege. all civilised people hereawait big foot's return and give thanks in this time of peace that the indian troublesare to be brought to a close
without further sacrifice of life. this is for big foot. somethin' else to keep you warm. army regulation wool underwear. this good medicine. the best. here, take a pair for yourself. go on, take 'em. he cannot hear.
they say some of sitting bull'speople are here with you. i'm lookin' for a friend of mine. he's young, speaks english. his name's voices that carry. i know this man. i cannot go back with you. i thought it was possible to bridgethe indian's and white man's world. - you are that bridge, george.- no. when i was back east, peoplelooked at me as an educated indian.
something different. a curiosity. i see that now. i lived among the white men,but i never belonged. and you belong here? i belong nowhere. this is what i've learned. this has been my real education. i am grateful to you for everythingyou've done for me, my friend. goodbye.
december 29, 1890 colonel wants your men to fetchyourselves up to big foot's tent. parley. you savvy? come on, get! parley! before takingyour people to pine ridge, we must ask that you surrenderany arms in your possession. those with guns or riflesmay now step forward, one by one,
and lay down their weapons. who else? surely this cannot be all of them. no more guns. have i not put you in an ambulanceand had my doctor look after you? did i not put you in a good tent with a stove to make youwarm and comfortable? did i not feed your people? yet now, big foot repaysmy kindness with lying?
sergeant! sir. you and your men searchthe village, tipi by tipi. troop! detail! let me in there. let me in. tell that man to sit down! when circle finish, he sit down. i have lived long enough!
where is the rest? that's the lot of it, sir. i was led to believethis band was better armed. you. get up. damn it. why do you want my gun? can't you see? he's deaf! what should we do, sir? hallowed be thy name,thy kingdom come, thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven give us this day our daily breadand forgive us our trespasses as we forgive thosewho trespass against us and lead us not into temptation. what is she saying? she said they told herif she put on the dress the bullets would not go through. why would anyoneshoot women and children? robert! robert!
is he gonna be all right? looks like a bad shrapnel wound. he'll pull through it,but i can't speak for the leg. here. keep that tight. you're all to return to yourhomes immediately and stay there. until the situation at wounded kneeand the badlands is fully resolved, this agency is under martial law. anyone violating the curfewor found holding a meeting will be arrested on site.
can you tell uswhat happened out there? reports from the fieldare still coming in, but as best as i can ascertain,the indians fired first. new year's day 1891 close on the grip. put this one down. yeah, now. yeah. what the hell you think you're doin'? theme's worth two bucks apiece.
back off now, you hear me, chief? leave him alone! can't you see? he's a holy manperforming a death rite! i am called loved by the buffalo. my mother is thunder heart woman. help me. that day, i saw growling bear's vision come to pass.
my heart was sad, but our people still live. we live and so we have hope. well, that's the storyas i know how to tell it. now somebody elsemight tell it a little differently. you see, the only historya man knows for certain is that small part he owns for himself. you can't forget we'reall part of the same wheel, the hubs and the spokesand the felloes.
you break one,and you break the wheel. when you tell your stories, you touch the grandmothers and grandfathers. and all the ancestorswho walk before them. and when others ask youwhere you know these things, ...loved by the buffalo was spared so i can tell you this story. i want you to rememberthese stories, jedediah.
so when your time comes,you can pass 'em on. it's important for peopleto know where they came from and what others have been through. i always told my children, i said, "you are one part virginiaand one part lakota. be proud of both." now this story belongs to you.