Second, “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” is a television movie. The red carpet premiere and credible stars (Aidan Quinn, Anna Paquin) that HBO supplied can’t conceal that this is a movie of the week—a form as eternal, indigenous and sacrosanct as the Black Hills of South Dakota. Simple-minded, blocky, smug, uplifting, always in a major key. Easy to sing along with.
As a result, Bury My Heart sounds like a creative failure. From now on, when people think of Dee Brown's book, they'll remember this production. They'll assume the book is equally unpalatable and skip it.
This is exactly why you need creators dedicated to honesty and authenticy. If the screenplay is messy, uncomfortable, even difficult, that's reality. Manipulating it doesn't necessarily make it better and often makes it worse.
Of course, when I see Bury My Heart, I may decide it's good. But the point is valid regardless. If a contrived Bury My Heart is good, an uncontrived Bury My Heart could have been great.