The movie Dances with Wolves tells us a story about a white man who learns at first hand about the lifestyle of the Sioux Indians and their civilization. The events in the film are described from the perspective of a lieutenant in the Union Army, Dunbar, who carefully observes Native American culture and becomes an inseparable part of its existence.
Dances with Wolves belongs to the genre of Western films, and is a directorial debut of Kevin Costner, who plays the main character in the movie as well. Having won several Academic Awards, the film is considered to be of the utmost cultural importance and has been preserved in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
A simple story, depictured in a magnificent manner, conveys the way strangers get to know each other. The movie starts with an episode when injured Dunbar decides to run away from the field hospital rather than let his foot be amputated and rides his horse in a suicidal charge at the enemy’s lines. However, a miraculous survival enables him with a choice to select any place and Dunbar chooses to go to the isolated frontier in Fort Sedgwick, Colorado. While enjoying solitude, lieutenant keeps records and writes down his daily grind, as well as documents the first impressions of the acquaintance with the Sioux.
While Dunbar discovers the culture, the Sioux have fear that the white man may disturb their harmonious life. Language barrier prevents from mutual understanding, however, there is a white woman in the tribe, called Stands with a Fist, who was adopted as a girl after her family had been killed, and she remembers a few words in English. With her help as a translator, the progress in understanding forges. Dunbar becomes more interested in the unique lifestyle of the tribe, in harmonious connection of its people between each other and nature, and soon becomes a member of the tribe. There is a peculiar tradition of the Sioux to give people names connected with a memorable episode from person’s life, so Dunbar was named as Dances with Wolves after he had been seen playing with a tamed wolf cub.
Meanwhile, we get acquainted with the members of the Sioux tribe, in particular with Kicking Bird, Wind in His Hair, Ten Bears; we observe the battle with the enemy tribe and are absorbed in a love story between Dunbar and Stands with a Fist, described in a respectful for tribe’s traditions manner.
As soon as the Sioux are forced to leave their territory, Dunbar takes a decision to go with them, but before, he wants to come back to Fort Sedgwick and take his journal with records. It was unexpected for him to find out that the fort had been occupied by the army, which was aimed to capture the Sioux, and demanded Dunbar to help them. He refused and became a prisoner of the army he used to serve in earlier.
Luckily, the movie has a happy end, as Dunbar was released by the Sioux and could come back to his beloved wife. However, Dances with Wolves and Stands with Fist decide to leave the tribe in order not to harm peaceful existence of the Sioux.
Dances with Wolves is a spectacular story, asking for courage and compassion from its audience. It is definitely recommended to be in everyone’s must-watch list