Woman Walks Ahead (2017) Script

[CATHERINE] 'Dear sir, 'my name is Catherine Weldon and I live in New York City.

'I studied portrait painting as a young woman, 'but when I married, 'it was deemed unsuitable for me to pursue a profession.

'Recently, I visited an exhibition

'of George Catlin paintings of American Indians

'and my breath was taken away.

'It was the freedom that struck me.

'Even inside the paintings, the people were free.

'I discovered that no portrait of you, 'the great Chief Sitting Bull, 'exists in any of our public galleries

'and I intend to rectify the situation.

'Almost one year ago, my husband died

'and I've been in mourning ever since.'

No.

[CATHERINE] Please stop here.

[CATHERINE] 'Now my deep grief has finally passed.'

Aah!

'And I can find consolation in my work.

'I've not sought the permission of my father

'or my husband's family

'so you may think I am something of a renegade.

'I assure you, this is not by nature but by circumstance.

'I've written to the Agent to say I'm on my way.'

[CHASKA] "Dear Mr. McLaughlin, "I have painted many portraits of senators, congressmen, "and even a vice president.

"But lately I took a decision to head west, "with the intention of painting portraits of Indians

"who've made their own mark on history.

"In particular, I'm keen to capture on canvas

"the last of the great Sioux war chiefs, Chief Sitting Bull."

Tell her, hell, no.

She's also enclosed a letter addressed to Sitting Bull to be delivered in person.

New York liberals stoking the flames.

When she gets here, arrest her.


[KNOCK AT DOOR]

Hello?

Fresh linens, ma'am? Oh, yes, please.

How long till we get to Omaha?

Half a day.

You're an Indian, aren't you? Yes, ma'am.

Which tribe? Presbyterian.

I'm heading to Standing Rock Reservation.

I'm going to paint Sioux Indians.

Have you ever been to Standing Rock?

The Sioux hunted my people like rabbits, cut out their hearts and fed 'em to the dogs.

You call if you need any more towels.

[MEN TALK INDISTINCTLY]

Ma'am. [MAN LAUGHS]

Hm.

Thank you.

Forgive me, ma'am, but, uh... very few unaccompanied ladies travel beyond Omaha.

Then they are missing some rare beauty.

You're not a soldier's wife? No.

Soldiers' wives don't see the beauty of the prairie, only its hazards.

Well, are you gonna make me guess?

You seem very good at it.

You're a missionary.

Oh. No, unfortunately, I don't have the certainty.

Well, the only stop left is Standing Rock Reservation.

If you're not a soldier's wife and you're not a missionary...

...what other business could you possibly have?

I'm a painter. A painter?

Yes, a full-time painter.

I'd guess you came here out of New York City.

Why?

'Cause New York is the headquarters of the National Indian Defense Association.

From time to time, they send their political agitators out west to stir things up on the reservations.

I guess that's closer to the truth.

I just told you, I'm a... a painter.

Painters can be agitators too. Often are.

So, now I'm a spy?

I'd guess you're traveling to Standing Rock to promote opposition to the Allotment Act treaty.

Sir, if I knew what the Allotment treaty was, which I don't, I probably would oppose it.

Well, you sure as hell couldn't paint it.

I met you two minutes ago, and already you have accused me of being a spy and a liar.

I work for the War Department, darling.

I didn't mean to be presumptuous, but you do have that certain look.

What look is that?

The look of someone filled with good intentions.

Oh!

And that's bad?

West of Missouri, it can be lethal.

Would you mind if I gave you some practical advice?

I don't really care for practical advice from someone who's such a poor judge of character.

May I take your order, ma'am?

No, I'll... I'll eat in my compartment. Thank you.

Yes, ma'am.

Ma'am.

[MAN 1] Okay, I've got it.

[MAN 2] What have you got in here?

[MAN 1] Get my bag, will you? Bring it. Grab a hold of...

Porter!

Hey, not her. I need you here.

Yes, sir.

I'll give you a hand with that.

Oh! Thank you.

Sounds good, Charlie. Colonel.

This lady here, she came all the way from New York to paint Indians.

Is that a fact?

Oh! I hope they fuck you.

Cut the baby out, like they did the Robinson girls.

Indian-loving bitch.

I'm sorry, Colonel. My blood boils.

If you had any sense at all, you'd get back on that train.

Return east with it today.

[TRAIN WHISTLE BLOWS]


[SHE GRUNTS]

[SHE PANTS]

Uh!

[INSECT BUZZES]

Hello.

Do you know somewhere maybe I could...

[SHE PANTS]

...hire a wagon?

[INSECT BUZZES]


Oh.

This is really very kind of you.

So, is the weather... often this bad?

Or is this unusual?

Please be careful. There are bottles of turpentine in there.

Wait!

Slow down!

Good afternoon. Agent McLaughlin?

Colonel Groves. War Department. Special Envoy for General Crook.

Where's the rest of it?

Yeah, General Crook's ordered a 50% cut in rations of flour, bacon and sugar to take effect immediately.

When a new treaty needs to be ratified, it's our experience that hunger concentrates the Indian mind.

This is my wife Susan. Susan?

Do you find that hunger concentrates your mind?

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

We don't encourage the use of the old language on the reservation.

Thank you, dear.

[DOOR SHUTS]

Hot as hell out there.

You fucking idiots in Washington want to start another war?

No, sir.

[HE TALKS INDISTINCTLY]

[GROVES] Mr. McLaughlin, did you give permission to that crazy woman to come onto the reservation?

Oh, Agent McLaughlin. It's a pleasure to meet you.

Sorry. I... I look a mess. It's kind of dusty out here.

Well, we're in the middle of a three-month drought.

Sorry if it inconvenienced you.

You got my letter?

Didn't wait for a reply?

Why would you refuse?

Mrs. Weldon, I order you to be on the train when it returns east tomorrow morning.

You order me?

Find her a cabin for the night.

Escort her back to the train in the morning.

Can I help you with your luggage?

Her luggage was stolen.

Mrs. Weldon, I hope you made a sketch of the thief before he got away.

[INDISTINCT CHATTER]

If I gave you money, would you get word to Sitting Bull I'm here?

I'll be back tomorrow morning at dawn.

You'll be here, right?


[LOUD KNOCKS AT DOOR]

Who is it? [GROVES] It's me.

Go away. I'm writing to my congressman.

You really should lock this door.

Lot of thieves around.

I'll be upcountry in the morning so I came to say goodbye.

Maybe arrange to meet for dinner, next time I'm in New York.

Why would I want to have dinner with you?

I don't know. We might get along.

I paint a little myself.

Landscapes.

You're an admirer of George Catlin.

You know his work?

You bet.

I can't look at these the way most people do, though.

The scalp dance.

Saw my first scalp dance in the Black Hills back in '75.

But when I saw it, there were little blonde scalps.

The warriors had stumbled across some Swedish immigrant children walking to school.

The little girls had blue ribbons tied up in their hair.

Mr. Groves, I've no doubt...

...terrible things have happened here in the past.

The past?

You ever wish you were young again, Mrs. Weldon?

I mean really young, 18.

No mistakes. Still strong, still free.

Well, on this reservation there's a whole nation wants to be young again.

But their youth isn't in the past.

Their youth lives in a log cabin

20 miles west of here down a dirt road.

Their youth is called Sitting Bull.

This is my other reason for dropping by.

I'm afraid there's a... a little blood.

Blood?

That old Indian stole your trunk, drank the turpentine, so, when the police went to get your stuff, he was drunk, pulled a gun, so they shot him.

Maybe you want to put that in your letter to your congressman.

[DOOR SHUTS]

[BIRDS TWEET] [CARRIAGE PASSES]

[DOOR BANGS]

[CHASKA] Mrs. Weldon! Time to go.

I'm not leaving.

Oh!

Did Sitting Bull even get the letter I sent him?

No. Agent burnt it.

He burnt it?

Well, naturally. He's God Almighty here, right?

I read it, though, before he burnt it.

Is it true you've painted senators?

Before I married, I used to paint commissions for the Smithsonian.

I wanted Sitting Bull to know that I've painted important people before.

[DOG BARKS]

This isn't the way I came from the station.

Where are we?

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

[KNOCKS]

[DOOR OPENS] [CHASKA SPEAKS LAKOTA]

[SHE SPEAKS LAKOTA]

He's in the fields, digging potatoes.

Who is? My uncle.

Sitting Bull.

[GRUNTS]

There he is.

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

My name's Catherine Weldon. I'm deeply honored to meet you.

[THEY SPEAK LAKOTA]


What happened?

Don't I get an explanation?

I had this stupid idea you might be able to help us.

Help with what?

I've got friends from Indian school, Kiowas, Comanches, and last summer a new treaty took half their land, and this winter it's our turn but no-one here gives a damn.

The young ones just get drunk and the old ones, they dance a ghost dance.

[CHASKA] My uncle? He says his day is done.

He'd rather dig damn potatoes.

What good do you think I could do?

I thought you could get a message to your senators.

Maybe they would listen if it came from Sitting Bull.

Let's go.

I want to speak to him.

So, speak to him. He speaks English well enough.

When he wants to.

Excuse me.

I have traveled many miles from the east...

...across many...

...rivers and hills...

...for the honor of speaking with you.

You got a train from New York, right?

Did you get a Pullman?

Yes. Nice.

They gave me free cigars too.

I have a proposition.

So, who have you painted before?

Oh, Congressman Tom Ochiltree from Texas and Senator Eamonn Brooks from Idaho.

So, how much?

How much for what?

For painting someone's picture.

Oh, I usually charge $40 but in this case...

I mean how much would you pay me?

I'd be happy to pay you $50.

$100.

[SINGS LAKOTA SONG]

$500.

$1,000.

That's a lot of money. I...

I don't have that kind of cash with me.

There's a First National Bank in town.

$1,000 it is.

Do we have a deal?

What?

It's raining.

[RAIN POURS]

How long has it been since it rained?

When Lakota first meet, we don't speak for a while.

Oh.

Words get in the way of getting to know each other.

Sorry.

You could throw some wood on the fire, though.

Lakota likes a woman who works hard.

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

That's not firewood. That's furniture.

Oh! Oh.

Maybe I could make some coffee?

Well, to make coffee, you'd need coffee.

[DOOR RATTLES] [LAUGHTER AND CHATTER]

[WHISPERING]

The children want to see the woman who brought the rain.

I've cleared this cabin for you.

Oh!

What will you tell McLaughlin?

That I put you on the train. You climbed off again.

He trusts you?

He thinks I spy on my uncle for the Agency.

But it's the other way around.


[SCREAMS]

[WHISPERS] What do you want?


[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

Who was that?

Shell King.

This used to be his cabin until I told him to leave.

He looked so...

...magnificent.

[BELL CHIMES] [PEOPLE CHATTER]

[WOMAN] I needed to go to the store the other day, but...

Kira! Kira, you come back here.


Do you always walk this fast?

Why?

I'm trying to get ahead of you before someone sees us.

You don't walk ahead of a chief.

Should I walk behind?

Side by side is fine.

[BREATHES HARD]

Are you alright?

Walking so fast has loosened my bullets.

Oh. What bullets?

I have four bullets still in my body.

They move around.

What does your husband think about you coming here?

I'm a widow.

I'm sorry. I'm not.

Mrs. Weldon.

May I speak with you in private?

What do you want? I'm here to rescue you.

Rescue me?

Hear you got yourself kidnapped.

These men are gonna escort you to Cannon Ball, catch the next train heading east.

That's very kind of you, Mr. Groves. Go to hell.

Mrs. Weldon, Dakota territory is hell.

Since I've been here, I've seen deplorable conditions and I hear the treaty you are here to serve will only make things worse.

Look here, it's time you get on that train and report back to your seditionist friends in Greenwich Village.

Well, If I take the train, I can be in Washington D.C. by Thursday.

The editor of "The Post" is an investor in my father's shipping business.

From his office I will go direct to the Senate, then to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and finally accept a long-standing dinner invitation with former Vice President Buckley.

[WHISTLES]

You know, it'd be kind of unfortunate to meet all those important people without all the facts.

So, the truth is important to both of us. Good.

Maybe you should stick around till General Crook gets here and I have the final draft of the treaty.

[LOWERS VOICE] Mrs. Weldon, do not give him reason to hope.

No-one here's forgotten and forgiven, least of all General Crook and the Seventh Cavalry.

Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse massacred the Seventh at Little Bighorn.

I don't need a history lesson.

It's not history till it's over...

...and for the Seventh, [WHISPERS] ...this isn't over until Sitting Bull's dead and if they kill him, half the Sioux Nation'll throw themselves against the American Army and Little Bighorn will be avenged.

You follow?

I'm just here to paint a painting.

Whoa!

Welcome to Fort Yates, General Crook.

Mr. McLaughlin.

Where's the Bull? A painter came from New York.

Seems to appeal to Sitting Bull's vanity.

He's having his portrait painted, while his people dance with ghosts.

He's not gonna be a problem, sir.

He's shown no interest in opposing the commission.

Get a message to this painter and tell him I'd like him to join me for dinner.

It's a woman, actually.

Man, those New York ladies love a bad man, don't they?

Invite her to dinner anyway.


This is the suit I wore to meet the President of the United States.

It's beautiful.

But I was hoping for something a little more traditional.

The Agent doesn't like us to wear buckskins.

If the white farmers around here see an Indian in skins, they get scared.

Well, okay, then. The suit's fine.

The Agent said we should burn all the old stuff.

Some we burnt.

Some we hid.

For $1,000, you should get what you want.

You're gonna need a horse.

No.

I don't ride. What?

In New York City, we don't need to ride horses.

[WHISTLES]

This is Rico.

Buffalo Bill gave him to me.

He's a circus horse.

It'd be just like sitting on a chair.

When you click your tongue...

[WHINNIES]

...he paws the ground.

When he hears a gunshot...

...he dances.

Come on, stroke him.

No, I don't want to stroke him.

Wherever it is we're going, I'll walk.

Your shoes. My shoes are walking shoes.

I paid $1,000. If I want to walk, I will damn well walk.

Does the snow stay on the mountains all year round?

It's not snow. It's bones.

Buffalo bones.

When the buffalo hear a gunshot they don't run. They stand.

So, the white hunters could just shoot and shoot until they were all dead.

We used to spend our lives following the buffalo herds.

Now they've all gone and we have to live in one place and ask the earth to grow potatoes.

You'll never be free on the prairie if you don't ride.

Freedom's in the head.

And in the feet. Oh.

My feet are just fine.

Try these.

My old ones, soft buckskin.

Uh!

You got big feet for a woman.

You got small feet for a man.

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

It means big feet. Maybe that could be your Indian name.

They called George Catlin "Mystery Spirit Painter".

Think of something like that.

Whoa.

You gettin' on that damn horse yet?

You walk behind me, looks like I've taken you prisoner.

Behind. In front. So many rules about walking.

Can't I just walk?

Rico's taken it pretty badly you don't like him.

It's okay, Rico. She's from New York.

I thought you liked New York.

Too many people with too much.

Too many people with nothing at all.

Your society values people by how much you have...

...ours by how much we give away.


[SIGHS]


Soft. Feel.

We used to use the buffalo's brains to soften the hide.

Every animal has exactly enough brains to tan its own hide.

Never too much.

Never too little.


You can look now.


You think you could wear your feathers?

Why not?

Same reason you don't wear your wedding dress.

I need you to come outside, though.

You can paint me in here.

There's no light in here.

You can't see my face?

When you've smoked, you'll come outside, yes?

Mrs. Weldon, don't talk to me like you don't know who I am.

I'll be outside.

[CATHERINE TAPS SKETCHBOOK]

[SIGHS]

So, Mrs. Weldon...

...how come you're scared of horses?

I got locked in a stable.

My dad's best saddle horse called Sultan.

I was eight years old.

My father... locked me in there on purpose.

Since then, I haven't ridden horses.

[SITTING BULL] Why would he do that?

Decided I needed to be taught to obey...

...broken like a horse...

...because I wasn't... behaving like a lady.

It was the way I wiped my mouth...

...at the dinner table, our country place, and some... some grand people came to dinner.

I was eight years old and...

...I wiped my mouth with my sleeve.

[CATHERINE] I was traded from father to husband.

I've decided to change.

I'm trying... not to care what people think of me.

That's why I'm out here on my own in the...

...middle of nowhere.

At my age, it's kind of stupid.

It's damned hard being brave.

[STIFLES SOBS]

[SNIFFS]

So, anyway,

...I'd really prefer to work outside, if that's okay with you.

[INSECT BUZZES]

You're not good at keeping still, are you?

Shoot me, then I will be still.

What would be the point of shooting you?

Bullets don't seem to have any effect.

[SIGHS] God damn. She really is a painter.

[EAGLE CALLS]

The eagle is telling Sitting Bull we're here.

What?

[SINGS LAKOTA SONG]

You're gonna paint me now?

In New York, I draw naked people all the time.

I can see without looking.

So, would you take your clothes off in front of me?

You're not a painter.

No?

I've painted a painting for every year of my life.

This was the first man I ever killed in battle, a Crow on the Powder River.

My name then was Hunkesni. It means "slow".

Slow?

I thought before I spoke...

...and on this day I became a man.

You became a man by killing someone?

Someone who would have killed my mother and sister.

How old were you? 13.

This is the death of my father...

...and this is how I killed the man who killed him.

This is the year when the measles first came.

Half our village died.

Is that General Custer?

I met with Tashunka Witko, Crazy Horse.

We decided we needed to all be together, if we were to survive.

The Hunkpapa, Oglala, Blackfeet, Minneconjou, Cheyenne, Arapaho.

Crazy Horse was a religious man.

He said the people needed a sign for them to believe in their own strength.

I went to seek a vision that year.

This was my vision, white soldiers... falling from the sky.

Two days later, Long Hair, Custer, came with his army.

We didn't leave a single one of them alive.

After that year...

...they tracked down every chief who fought in that battle, killed them all.

Except for you.

So, you see?

I am a painter too.

This is one of the most exquisite pieces of work I've ever seen.

Then why does it make you sad?

Because you've lived all this and turned it into something beautiful.

The only battle I ever fought against is insignificance.

So, live more.

[WHISPERS] Live more. Yes.

That's what I want to do.

Must have been hell to be in jail after living like this.

I was never in jail.

This body full of bullets was in jail.

But I was out there.

The guards thought I was sleeping.

But I'd made myself into an eagle.


Is there something wrong?

It's cold. Why are there no fires?

This morning at Fort Yates, they issued copies of the new treaty.

Then they announced the new winter rations.

Everything's cut in half. The beef, flour, sugar.

They're gonna starve us into signing.

When people heard the news, they came running here asking for you, even Arapahoes and Cheyennes.

The Shell King came.

He asked where was Sitting Bull when his people needed him.

He said you were off with the white woman, a government spy, who arrived on the same train as the man who cut the rations.

He said you abandoned them.

When Shell King left, most of the villagers left with him.

They went off to join the ghost dance.

What's... what's the ghost dance?

An Indian from the south had a vision.

He said if the Lakota wear certain clothes and dance a certain dance, then the old ways will return.

The buffalo will come running, scattered across the prairie, like they used to.

The Indians who died of hunger and measles, they will return and the white man will leave us alone.

They dance until they fall.

There's nothing left for them but to dance.

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]


[DRUMMING AND CHANTING]

[DRUMMING AND CHANTING]


[CARRIAGE APPROACHES]

Mrs. Weldon, last night I asked the spirits for help.

What did they say?

They told me it was time for you to go into town, do some shopping.

People get scared when Indians dance.

Dancing was scalps and war.

They see dancing, they want soldiers.

By the way, General Crook and McLaughlin are having a dinner.

They told me to tell you you're invited to the party.

I can only give you 32 sacks of white flour, ma'am. That's it.

The rest is earmarked for the Army.

Very well, then. 32 will have to do.

And beans, I've only got black beans in that quantity.

Black beans is fine.

100 large sacks, please.

And 50 barrels of molasses.

All set.

Alright, keep 'em coming.

[DOG BARKS]

Whoa, whoa.

And this is all for the Sioux police barracks?

So, how come the white woman's paying cash?

No English. Hup.

Aah.

Catherine Weldon.

[SCREAMS]


There you go, whore. Now you're red, just like him.

[GRUNTS]

[GRUNTS]

[SNIFFS]

[SOBS]

[SOBS]

You'd better go. They're looking for rope.


Woman Walks Ahead.

[INDISTINCT CHATTER]

Right, we all ready? [SHE MURMURS ASSENT]

Good morning.

Yeah, we'll see. Right.

[THEY SPEAK LAKOTA]

Number 21, please.

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

Yeah, wait, she does understand that her beef and flour rations have been cut in half, doesn't she?

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

What did she say?

She said she already has enough flour.

From where? [SPEAKS LAKOTA]

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

[SUSAN] She said from the Great Spirit.

[GUNSHOT]

General Crook.

We have a problem at Standing Rock.

Mrs. Weldon is buying food for the Indians, thereby... thereby undermining the ration system.

I recommend we arrest her, keep her locked up until after the vote.

[GUNSHOT]

Thought you said I didn't need to worry about Sitting Bull.

I was wrong. She's agitating him.

She has him wearing buckskins and feathers.

You can't arrest someone for spending their own money.

Sir, with all due respect, our job here is to deliver a ratification of the Allotment Act.

I bet my old friend Sitting Bull feels about potatoes the way I feel about you, Mr. Groves.

She's agitating the Bull, sir. She's agitating him to act.

No, she's a painter painting what she sees.

When she sees the Bull, she sees a warrior.

I, too, am a warrior. Our destinies appear to be entwined.

Sir, I fear that for some among your regiment, this return to Dakota is about revenge.

Vengeance is for the Lord to take.

But maybe our good Lord sent us Mrs. Weldon.

Sir...

Permission to issue an arrest warrant is denied.

Do you remember who did this?

[CATHERINE] The whole town.

I guess I really made them mad, huh?

The local paper...

[CLEARS THROAT]

...seems to have gotten the idea that... you and me are somehow romantically connected.

Some joke, huh?

They also think that...

...you and me are planning some kind of uprising.

Imagine.

A painter of a certain age and an old potato farmer.

Once, I would have taken 100 warriors and finished that whole town.

But I've learnt to swallow it, like swallowing rocks.

If we fight, they'll massacre us all.

We can fight it in an election.

They have to put the treaty to a vote.

There won't be any need for violence.

Where are you going?

To get someone to saddle Rico.

[GRUNTS]


[SHE GRUNTS]


Sometimes, the sadness I feel for the passing of the old days is such that I find it hard to swallow.

The Dakota wind, the smell of buffalo and churned-up grass, smoking pine, burning fat, tobacco, Indian girls wearing cut sage, sleeping on soft furs.

But, you see, it is time.

Time cannot be resisted.

Change comes the way the rain comes.

Those days cannot return.

But, still, there are rocks inside a man that the rain won't wash away.

Meaning what exactly? Meaning debts remain.

You reckon you're owed something?

Should we serve the soup?

General Crook, since the arrival of your men, I must say, there's been an air of sourness about the place.

Yes. Because debts remain.

Those beautiful days are not quite gone. Not quite.

Yes, Susan, why don't you bring the soup?

[KNOCK AT DOOR]

I got your invitation. Sorry I'm a bit late.

I have decided to help with the democratic process.

What happened to you?

I've already written to Senator Fracks about my presence here at the reservation.

I posted the letter in Cannon Ball, where certain wild rumors about me led to a very violent reception.

Mrs. Weldon, if you have been assaulted, I will take the matter up with the police and the military.

I've decided to help the campaign against the treaty.

I've a democratic right to do this as part of the political process.

Any violent move against me or any of the people I campaign with will be reported to the Senator by wire.

You really should see a doctor about that.

I have been to a doctor. Good evening.


Maybe you should begin by explaining what the allotment is and show them how much land will be taken away if they agree.

I can't be seen taking orders from you.

Now we will have to wait.

[HE SNIFFS]

[CLEARS THROAT]

[THEY WHOOP AND YELL]

[THEY WHOOP AND YELL]

How's it going?

These elders, they don't care to be told what to do.

How do we convince them to vote?

With food. I hope it's good.

[LAUGHTER]

Mm-hm.

[LAUGHTER]

[LAUGHTER] What are they saying?

The older ones, the new ways of resisting may take some time.


[THEY YELL AND WHOOP]

[MAN SINGS IN LAKOTA]

[CROWD YELLS AND WHOOPS]


[THUNDER ROLLS]


The crowds are getting bigger every time.

Getting angrier too.

They've been angry for a long time.


Are we here for the night?

You are here for the night.

Where are you going?

Can't you hear?

The thunder spirits have returned.

I read that the thunder spirits bring war.

They will vote for us.

[DRUMMING AND SINGING]


[BIRDSONG]


What's happening?

My campaign committee.


[INDISTINCT CHATTER]

[BANGS GAVEL]

People of the Sioux Nation...

...I declare this commission open for submission.

Let me introduce the commission's mediator, Colonel Silas Groves.

Good afternoon.

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

Before I ask the General to give his own testimony to his commission, I have a list of council elders who've all agreed to share their opinions with us and, to begin, I'd like to start by calling Sioux Chief Black Bear of the Sans Arc Sioux.

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

[YELLING AND WHOOPING]

[YELLING SUBSIDES]

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

Chief Black Bear, please carry on with your testimony.

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

He's saying that's all he has to say.

Guess the cat got his tongue.

Next we'll hear from, uh...

[CLEARS THROAT] ...Chief Yellow Hand.

Yellow Hand?

Then can we hear from John Grass of the Minneconjou?

Come on, John!

Sir, maybe we should call this off.

I thought you bribed these people.

I have a list of six more chiefs who gave me their word they'd speak here today in favor of the Allotment Act.

[CROOK] Are any of them prepared to stand up?

We have a real chance here.

Maybe we should just adjourn till tomorrow.

I would like to speak. [SPEAKS LAKOTA] No, you won't.

He's not a registered member of any tribal council.

We have the power to say no.

Power?

[LAUGHS] You wanna speak, Bull?

You go ahead. General.

Let the man speak, for Christ's sake. This is a free land.

What do you have to say, my old friend?

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

Since the white man came...

...and broke up the grassland with his ploughs...

...the earth has turned to dust.

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

In this dust, there is the body of Crazy Horse...

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

...American Horse...

[SITTING BULL SPEAKS LAKOTA]

...Spotted Tail...

[SITTING BULL SPEAKS LAKOTA]

...Black Kettle...

[SITTING BULL SPEAKS LAKOTA] ...Sword...

[SITTING BULL SPEAKS LAKOTA] ...Two Moons...

[SITTING BULL SPEAKS LAKOTA] ...Rain in the Face.

[SPEAKS LAKOTA] When the wind blows...

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

...it blows our heroes in our faces.

[SITTING BULL SPEAKS LAKOTA]

Our diplomats.

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

[SUSAN] Our doctors.

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

[SUSAN] Our priests.

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

Our dead children.

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

The Great Spirit speaks to us in clouds of dust.

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

[SUSAN] You cannot sell...

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

...pieces of the earth...

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

...because the earth belongs to God.

[SITTING BULL SPEAKS LAKOTA]

We must tell these people to go home...

[SITTING BULL SPEAKS LAKOTA] ...back to Washington, and not hurt the earth any more.

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

[SUSAN] Enough. Enough.

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

We will give no more of our land away.

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

Not even this much.

[CROWD WHOOPING AND YELLING]

[WHOOPING STOPS]

[CROOK] Anybody else care to speak?

[WHISPERS] You're not helping me, General?

We have to adjourn. Adjourn?

Why don't we go straight to a vote?

Sir, if we vote now, they'll vote against. You know that.

It's called democracy, Colonel Groves.

This is a mistake, General.

All those in favor of the Allotment Treaty, line up at the red circle.

Those against it, line up at the blue.

[SPEAKS LAKOTA]

What the hell are they doing? They're handing us a victory.

You don't get it, do you? Don't you understand?

This is what the General wanted all along.

If we lose the vote, they'll have an excuse to go to war.

And deep down, that's what the Bull wants too.


To find our way on the open prairie, we stop sometimes and look, remember.

With people too.

You stop sometimes and look and remember.

It's called cantognake.

To place and hold in your heart.

This moment.

Our power returning.

Young again.

Hold it in your heart.

You are already in my heart.

So, you should know...

...the spirits have told me that this is the winter I'll cross over into the spirit world.

No. I don't want...

[SNIFFS]

Don't tell me that.

Cantognake.


I've finished it.

Come and see.


You've made me look too old.

[HORSE WHINNIES]

[DOOR BANGS]

Congratulations.

It's a beautiful painting.

Get out of my house.

What did he say?


What is it?

Don't forget about our dinner in New York City, Mrs. Weldon.

[DOOR SHUTS]


Jesus, it's so quiet. I wish a dog would bark.

They really can't charge you with sedition...

...and I'm a witness you never took part in any violence.

When does the river freeze?

When the geese fly.

We have to leave before then or...

...we'll be stuck here all winter.

We'll leave tomorrow...

...and when we go to New York we can stay in my apartment.

[SHE SOBS]

[SOBS]

My parents will have a fit.

[SNIFFS]

There's lights in the streets now, since you've been there.

It never really gets dark any more.

[SNIFFS]

Fire needs more logs.

[SOBS] I'm warm enough.

[SIGHS]

Go. The Lakota like a woman who works hard.


[SHE GASPS AND SCREAMS]

No! No!

No! No!

[CHASKA] What's happening?

Corporal?

Where are you going?

We're off the reservation. You're free to go. You're safe.

Mrs. Wel... Mrs. Weldon, you'll never make it!


[SHE PANTS]


[GRUNTS]

[PANTS]


[CRIES]


[SINGS LAKOTA DEATH SONG]


[EAGLE CALLS]