Beginning with the Sioux victory over General Custer at Little Big Horn, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee intertwines the unique perspectives of three characters: Charles Eastman (Adam Beach), né Ohiyesa, a young, Dartmouth-educated, Sioux doctor held up as living proof of the alleged success of assimilation; Sitting Bull (August Schellenberg), the proud Lakota chief who refuses to submit to U.S. government policies designed to strip his people of their identity, their dignity and their sacred land - the gold-laden Black Hills of the Dakotas; and Senator Henry Dawes (Aidan Quinn), one of the architects of the government policy on Indian affairs.
While Eastman and patrician schoolteacher Elaine Goodale (Anna Paquin) work to improve life for the Sioux on the reservation, Senator Dawes lobbies President Grant (Thompson) for more humane treatment, opposing the bellicose stance of General William Tecumseh Sherman (Feore).
Hope rises for the Sioux in the form of the prophet Wovoka (Studi) and the Ghost Dance - a messianic movement that promises an end of their suffering under the white man.
This hope is all but obliterated after the killing of Sitting Bull and the massacre of hundreds of Lakota men, women and children by the 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee Creek on Dec. 29, 1890.
Published in 1971, Dee Brown's book is one of the foremost works documenting the systematic subjugation of the American Indian during the latter half of the 19th century. It has sold nearly five million copies and has been translated into 17 languages.
From Brown's encyclopedic tome chronicling the fate of the Dakota, Ute, Cheyenne and other tribes, the film focuses on the events leading up to the massacre of the Sioux, which many consider one of the most grievous atrocities in United States history.
HBO Films presents A Wolf Films /Traveler's Rest Films Production BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE Aidan Quinn Adam Beach August Schellenberg Eric Schweig J.K. Simmons Wes Studi Colm Feore Gordon Tootoosis and Anna Paquin Casting by Rene Haynes, CSA Music Supervisor Evyen J Klean Music by George S. Clinton Production Designer Ian Thomas Editors Michael Ornstein, A.C.E., Michael Brown, A.C.E. Director of Photography David Franco Produced by Clara George Executive Producers Tom Thayer Dick Wolf Based on the book by Dee Alexander Brown Screenplay by Daniel Giat Directed by Yves Simoneau