I grew up watching cowboys and Indians on television and in the movies. In fact, when I think back about how many pictures I did watch, that’s probably why I cannot stand to see another one as an adult. However, in my Prime email from Amazon this morning, this was advertised. I knew it to be recent and I like Jessica Chastain, so I thought I would check it out.
It’s a true story about a widow from New York who came out west to paint Sitting Bull. Hollywood portrays her as a childless widow, when in fact in real life, Catherine Weldon did have a son. In 1890, she boards a train from the big city and travels to the plains of the Dakota intent on meeting the infamous chief. Her one mission is to learn about him, his people, their treatment, and paint his portrait.
It’s a well-acted and soul-searching look into a time period when the United States didn’t play fair when it came to the Indians. A lot of hatred existed between the white and the Indians on the reservation, and Catherine does her best to help with the intent of making waves in Congress for better treatment. Unfortunately, she also is hated by the locals for her sympathies toward the Lakota tribe.
Michael Greyeyes, who plays Sitting Bull, is much younger and more handsome than the real man who walked the earth. Romantic undertones by Hollywood are mixed into the story, focusing on his relationship with Catherine. Jessica Chastain is a fine actress who plays a wide spectrum of characters well.
If you have Amazon Prime, I recommend this movie as a freebie. It didn’t garnish great reviews though. In the end, a bit of history comes up on the screen, but you may have to hit stop to read it as editing doesn’t give you more than a few seconds to speed read the content. I was unaware that this time period in the movie is a precursor to the massacre at Wounded Knee, where over three hundred men, woman, and children Lakotas were killed in 1890.