Why I should have seen it already:
It’s that long movie which kind of proves why Kevin Costner is a big deal.
Now that I have (Part 1):
The movie opens up with some people wanting to cut off Lt. John Dunbar’s (Kevin Costner) leg. It’s all messed up on account of the Civil War. But Dunbar mindset is that of “Uh-uh, no way. I’d rather die while riding a horse than let you do that to me.” So, he saddles up for a suicide mission across the battlefield. Unfortunately for him (I guess), he fails to get killed and instead provides the inspiration for his army to charge and overtake the southern forces. A Major General takes note of this fact, and let’s one of the good surgeons operate on and save Dunbar’s leg.
Good surgeons: Save the leg. Bad surgeons: Hack it off. This could be applied to nearly every profession except lumberjack.
Dunbar is also given the choice of being transferred to any post he desires, so he chooses one far West in hopes of seeing the American frontier before it’s gone. Looks like things aren’t going to be easy though since the man who sends him there goes crazy and kills himself and the men at the fort Dunbar was assigned to have decided to abandon their post. Basically, nobody knows Dunbar is there and he has no clue when his reinforcements will arrive.
Regardless, he really enjoys his time alone at the fort. He loves the frontier, the solitude, and makes best friends with his horse and a local wolf. He names the wolf Two Socks because that is about how much clothing he could make with the scrawny wolf’s pelt.
Back at camp, Dunbar is dealing with the mystery of his abandoned fort but not for too long. It’s never solved anyway, so he sort of stops caring. He finds a lake filled with dead animal carcasses. Doesn’t care. He learns the men were living in local caves instead of the fort. Doesn’t care. He finds no evidence of any battles or any reason for the fort to be deserted. Doesn’t care. The delayed shipment of supplies which arrived with Dunbar can explain why the soldiers left, but what about the caves and the dead animals?
We’ll never know. Because a Native American is about to see Dunbar’s wiener.
A Sioux Native America finds Dunbar’s fort and attempts to take his horse while Dunbar’s taking a bath. Luckily, Dunbar manages to scare him away with the shame of his naked body. The Sioux is a holy man by the name of Kicking Bird (Graham Greene). This encounter gives the rest of his tribe all the reason they need to show up and bother Dunbar. Frequently they try to steal his horse but that horse loves Dunbar so much he always fights them off and returns. They also like to scream at Dunbar about how they aren’t afraid of him. Dunbar most often plays dead during these encounters.
Eventually, Dunbar decides to act rather than react and goes in search of the Sioux. On his way there he finds the recently widowed Stands With A Fist (Mary McDonnell) who is trying to kill herself. He saves her and brings her back to the Sioux. Turns out, Stands With A Fist is an orphaned white woman who’s been living with the Sioux all her life. She has hairy armpits and perfectly tweezed eyebrows. Yeah, try to figure that out!
Well, since both she and Dunbar are white, attractive, and suicide survivors the sexual tension between them is a’cracklin’ immediately.
This act of kindness confirms Kicking Birds beliefs that Dunbar ain’t totally a bad dude. So he begins frequent visits where they share knowledge and attempt communication. Dunbar gives them coffee and sugar. They give him a buffalo pelt, which are animals Dunbar has been hoping to see for a while. Dunbar also teaches them how to awkwardly wave to people you don’t really know. The awkward wave spreads like WILDFIRE.
Dunbar starts spending more time with the Sioux after he becomes a hero during a buffalo hunt. He saves a kid from getting trampled by a buffalo, which I guess is cool, but in the buffalo’s defense they were trying to shoot him with arrows until he died.
Stands With A Fist becomes the translator between Dunbar and Kicking Bird since she sorta-kinda remembers English.
This makes things quicker but more awkward when Kick Bird wants to know if more white dudes will be showing up. Dunbar knows they will, but he doesn’t want to ruin the party he’s having just yet. The Sioux basically do everything for him. He doesn’t have to work, he’s given his own tent, and he keeps makin’ eyes at Stands With A Fist even though she’s supposed to be sad about her husband dying until Kicking Bird tells her to stop. Why would Dunbar want to spoil a good thing?
Anyway, Dunbar returns to the fort after an extended visit and realizes being in the army sucks.
Will the Native American’s be able to beat the white dudes back to Europe? Find out in the exciting Part 2!
(Continued at Part 2)