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Opinion: Indians took back seat for 'Into the West'

"Steven Spielberg's latest television epic, "Into the West," traveled some tired trails in its effort to tell the story of the occupation of the American West and the toll it took on native people.

Much like his Hollywood predecessors, Spielberg, who is the executive producer of the series, centered the story around a white male, Jacob Wheeler, who becomes a genuine, complex human being. Indians, on the other hand, were relegated to a mostly colorful back story. Spielberg depicted them as uncomplicated, noble people, bound to their land and culture.

The epic, which was shown on TNT and recently aired its final episode, followed the paths of two families, Jacob and his family of Wheelwrights from Wheelerton, Va., and Thunder Heart Woman and her Lakota family.

After acting on his dream to venture west, Jacob saves Thunder Heart Woman from being sold to a dirty, hairy mountain man played by Gary Busey. They, of course, fall in love, and Jacob learns the simple childlike ways of the Lakota, who readily accept him."

Get the Story:
Mary Annette Pember: 'Into The West' Was Flawed Journey (The Yankton Press and Dakotan 8/3)

Relevant Links:
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