After his father is killed, a child is kidnapped at the age of four in 1859 with his sister and raised by the Comanche tribe. After being rescued by a frontiersman, their mother spends years searching for them and eventually finds them, but they do not remember her or anything about their previous life.
The script was written by Stowe under the pseudonym O.C. Humphrey and her husband, Brian Benben in the early 1990s. The film never began production after Stowe declined a $5 million deal in 2003 because she wanted to star as the lead female role instead of only being the writer. Ridley Scott was originally intended to direct the film and star Russell Crowe as the role Hugh Jackman will play.
The Story of Cynthia Ann Parker
The captives were Mrs. Rachel Plummer, her fifteen-month-old son James, Mrs. Elizabeth Kellogg and the Parker children, Cynthia Ann, nine-years old and John, children of Silas Parker. The captives were scattered among the various bands of the two tribes. Later, the two women and the Plummer child were ransomed to friendly Indians and returned them to their families.
The Quohada band of Comanche who were the most war-like of all the Comanche bands took the two Parker children. In 1840, a trader named Col. Len Williams with another trader named Stoal and a Delaware Indian scout named Jack Henry came upon a Comanche camp on the Canadian River. They noticed a captive white girl and proposed a trade for her, which the Comanche flatly refused but gave Williams permission to speak to her.
The girl refused to speak to the trader either because she was afraid, had forgotten her mother tongue or did not care to talk. Williams believed that she was the Parker girl as she had blond hair and blue eyes and was about thirteen years old.
An interesting sidelight of this story is what became of Cynthia's younger brother John. John Parker adapted well to the wild Comanche life where one was free to roam the Llano Estacado from the Wichitas to Mexico. John became a Comanche through and through and went on many raids into Mexico. On one of these raids, John contracted smallpox. The Comanche so dreaded this disease that is set the entire band into a panic. The Comanche raiders abandoned John and left a Mexican captive girl to take care of him. John eventually recovered from the disease and returned to Mexico with the girl whom he later married.
This could be a good Native-themed movie or a bad one, but I'm already seeing a number of red flags:
Perhaps the only positive note is that the captives end up thinking of themselves as Comanche and wanting to stay. But the movie could spin that as a negative result of cult-like brainwashing. In a story like this, people "torn between two worlds" usually die tragically. They rarely go on to live happily ever after.
For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.
Below: The stars...
...and someone who looks like a hardened Western woman (Cynthia Ann Parker) rather than a pampered actress.