Scheduled to debut on HBO in May, the film powerfully explores the economic, political and social pressures that underpinned the opening of the American West and the tragic impact this expansion had on American Indian culture. The Wolf Entertainment/Traveler's Rest Films production is directed by Yves Simoneau ("Napoleon"), produced by Clara George ("United 93"), from a screenplay by Daniel Giat (HBO Films' "Path to War"), based on the book by Dee Alexander Brown.
The cast includes Aidan Quinn (HBO Films' "Empire Falls"), Adam Beach (Clint Eastwood's "Flags of Our Fathers"), August Schellenberg ("The New World"), Colm Feore ("Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould"), J.K. Simmons (HBO's "Oz"), Wes Studi ("Comanche Moon"), with Fred Dalton Thompson ("Law & Order") and Anna Paquin (Academy Award(r) winner for "The Piano"). HBO Films vice president Sam Martin is the executive in charge of the production.
While Eastman and patrician schoolteacher Elaine Goodale (Paquin) work to improve life for the Indians on the reservation, Senator Dawes lobbies President Grant (Thompson) for more humane treatment, opposing the bellicose stance of General William Tecumseh Sherman (Feore). Hope rises for the Indians in the form of the prophet Wovoka (Studi) and the Ghost Dance--a messianic movement that promises an end of their suffering under the white man. This hope is obliterated after the assassination of Sitting Bull and the massacre of hundreds of Indian men, women and children by the 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee Creek on Dec. 29, 1890.