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Reviews: 'Dinosaur 13' portrays Cheyenne River man as a villain

The Sue exhibit at The Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois. Photo © The Field Museum

A member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe who contested the taking of dinosaur remains from his trust land is portrayed as a villain in Dinosaur 13, according to reviews of the new documentary.

In 1990, Maurice Williams allowed a team to look for fossils on his ranch on the reservation. But he did not agree to sell what turned out to be the nearly complete remains of a Tyrannosaurus rex, known as Sue.

A federal court case determined that Williams, in fact, owned the remains. But reviews say he is portrayed as untrustworthy and "detestable" for asserting his legal rights while the researchers who took the fossil are shown as devoted and caring.

The other villain in the documentary is a federal prosecutor "with a political agenda and a porn-star mustache" -- as described by The Wall Street Journal. On behalf of the federal government, former U.S. Attorney Kevin Schieffer ordered the 1992 raid of a museum in South Dakota where the fossil was taken after being removed from the reservation.

Williams eventually reclaimed the specimen and it was sold to The Field Museum for nearly $8.4 million in 1997.

YouTube: Dinosaur 13 Official Trailer

Get the Story:
The documentary Dinosaur 13 offers a one-sided take on a legal quagmire (The Onion 8/14)
The Story of Sue (The Wall Street Journal 8/15)
An Aging Beauty With Good Bones (The New York Times 8/15)
'Dinosaur 13' richly details how huge find devolved into grief (The Los Angeles Times 8/15)
'Dinosaur 13' review: It's T. rex vs. the feds -- guess who wins? (The Oregonian 8/15)
Film Review: Dinosaur 13 (The International Film Journal 8/15)
Review: Buzzy Sundance Fossil-Hunting Documentary 'Dinosaur 13' (Indiewire 8/15)

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