Deep and long simmering hatred is stirred up when Captain Blocker, an experienced and capable yet bitter western war veteran, is ordered to lead the transfer of a small band of Cheyenne from New Mexico to Montana. Blocker is enraged because the band includes Yellow Hawk, the killer of his friends. Forced to go, Blocker puts Yellow Hawk in chains for the long ride. The unlikely travel companions meet up with a grief-stricken woman in the burnt remains of her home. She cradles a dead baby in her arms and hovers on the brink of insanity. Worse, the unstable and dangerous men who massacred the woman's family are now on their trail. Sympathy for the woman as well as the desire for self-preservation begins to unite the Cheyenne and the soldiers.
There are wonderful film themes to digest including the understanding that hostility can come from anywhere or anyone. We are all potential hostiles. It is a sight for sore eyes to watch the characters travel through beautiful prairies and wildlands. Actors including Chistian Bale, Wes Studi and Rosamund Pike, perform impressively. While the actor chemistry is a bit off and much time is wasted in useless blubbering, there is an uncommon, important and intriguing American history lesson here. Seen at the Toronto International Film Festival.
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