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movie scene

But I think love is probably the biggest reason for the existence of Dances With Wolves.

I love the animals with whom we share the planet. I love the humbling quality of open space. I love the West as it once was, teeming with buffalo and wolves.

And I love the reverent, free people from whom I have learned so much.

-Michael Blake
1945-2015

Did you know...

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from the book "Dances With Wolves, The Illustrated Story of the Epic Film" by Kevin Costner, Michael Blake, and Jim Wilson © 1990 by Newmarket Press.

from the cast and more

thumbnail All of a sudden one buffalo started to bolt in the wrong direction, and that's when I knew these guys [the riders] were committed. Because they were afraid, but they threw their horses in front of those buffalo and tried to salvage that run. You saw their courage grow every day, and the whole thing got to an almost spiritual level. I think the realism has a lot to do with it. People watching the movie won't notice this unless they look hard, but all these guys are bareback, they're riding with traditional hackamores, and they were flying - really flying. They did it for themselves and they did it for something long ago that will never come again. They turned the clock around.

-Kevin Costner :: Lt. John Dunbar

thumbnail There's one moment I keep remembering from the shooting. It happened the day when the entire tribe first sees the tracks of the buffalo herd. There must have been a hundred and fifty of us out there on the prairie, a lot on horseback and the rest on foot. When we reached the exact point where everyone sees that the buffalo have come, there was a moment of silence.

It's hard to explain what happened, but it was as if something really old emerged. You could almost feel the genetic sacredness of the moment. It didn't feel like work then; it felt like we had all slipped into another territory.

-Mary McDonnell :: Stands With A Fist

thumbnail My Grandma was around at the time of the Wounded Knee massacre, and she taught me the traditional ways, though we had to sneak around to do it. We used to walk five miles, way down a canyon where a medicine man lived, to pray. She told me not to ever give that up because if we ever lost our language and our culture, we would lose everything.

I was scared about doing this movie at the beginning, but it's been a good experience. It portrays us as we really are. They've gotten it right this time.

-Doris Leader Charge :: Pretty Shield

thumbnail One of the things we heard from a lot of people was Don't use wolves. They're one of the most difficult animals to work with, and ours ran true to form - but I really didn't think we could get away with not using them. We looked at a lot of film of half-breeds, malamutes, huskies. And though they may look like a wolf, they don't walk like a wolf. Wolves have a very distinctive way of walking on those long, thin legs, and the wolf lope is unmistakable.

There's just something about it when they look at you and the camera catches them just right - a glint in the eye - a true wilderness that was worth all the frustration. To name the picture Dances With Wolves and not use real wolves I think would have been a travesty.

-Jim Wilson, Producer

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