Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that this production, based on the nonfiction book by Dee Brown, has two intense Indian-massacre scenes -- one at the Little Big Horn in which Indians do the massacring, the other the Wounded Knee battle in which Indians are largely victims. Women and children are shown perishing in killings and disease epidemics, and a schoolhouse environment (for Indian children) seems bleak and oppressive. The downbeat tale puts across a strong theme of mistrust of the U.S. government.
Rifle and mortar fire shed blood in battle scenes, and there are knifings and scalpings. A bloody closeup of a leg wound, and bullets are dug out of patients without sedation. A pair of Indians are whipped. Wild animals, horses, and cattle are also slain. Dead bodies of epidemic victims shown, including children. One Indian chief compares another (who cooperates with the white man) to a woman being raped.
"Balls," "s--t," plus a single use of the f-word (by a US president).
While the story is sad, there is a sense of the indominatable spirit of the Indians in not surrendering completely to the white man. While it's stated that Indian tribes warred against each other when they should have been pulling together against the European invaders, the point is made that no tribe, village, or clan should have to accept what Washington D.C. did. The usually overlooked role of Canada in the U.S.-Indian wars gets some illumination here.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Indians are shown lining up for free alcohol, in the form of vile-tasting medication.