Dances With Wolves: A Story Of John J. Dunbar

“Nothing you have told me about them is true.” They are neither thieves nor beggars. The bogeymen that are painted on them are false. It is a pleasure to have them as guests. “–John Dunbar. The story “Dances with Wolves”, a movie based on a true story, is about a lieutenant who was a hero by accident after he attempted suicide and asked to be transferred to Fort Hayes. After the transfer was approved, he moved to Fort Sedgwick in the frontier. Lieutenant Dunbar finds his new posting deserted when he arrives. He befriends a few local Lakota Sioux Indians. Soon, he integrates into the society of these Indians. The Lakota Sioux uses him to fight against the Pawnee, becoming a source of vital information. Did “Dances with Wolves”, a movie based on the book, really take place in St. David’s Field Tennessee. Was Lieutenant Dunbar an actual person or a fictional character?

St. David’s Field, Tennessee: Did it exist? Unfortunately, no. The film was filmed mostly in South Dakota Badlands National Park, with some scenes in Wyoming. It’s a fictional place. Even though the battle on St. David’s is fictitious it is based upon the horrific three day battle of Gettysburg. The Gettysburg National Military Park states that this place doesn’t exist. However, the battles in the film look very realistic. According to Nurse Cornelia Hanncock’s first hand account of the battle, conditions were horrific. The conditions were made worse by their screams …”. The novel was set in Pennsylvania, not Tennessee. A monetary incentive was offered by a third party to film the scene in South Dakota. Kevin Costner, in his moving performance as Lt. Dunbar brings to life the story and makes you wonder if it was based on real experiences or characters. Lieutenant John J. Dunbar’s character was fictional and not based on an actual person. Dunbar’s descriptions of his Lakota Sioux experiences were very accurate. The Lakotas Sioux lived in a peaceful migratory culture that hunted buffalo. But they soon had to fight back to regain their land. Costner’s portrayal Dunbar as a witty and insightful character was so eye-opening, the Lakotas decided to make him a member of their tribe.

The movie, “Dances with Wolves”, pays tribute to Native Americans. This is the first time that the “white man” has helped rather than hurt them. It may not be historically accurate at first glance, but the finer details of the film, such as the dialogue spoken by the Sioux Nation and the production of peace pipes, helped to create an award-winning movie. Costner may have made “Loo Ten Ten” fictional, but his impact was real. Although this movie is fictional, it did portray a fairly accurate picture of Native American life in the American Frontier during the 1850’s.