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Medicine Wheel / Wagon Wheel
September 20, 2012 7:14 PM   Subscribe

In 2005, Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks produced a 6 episode miniseries that spanned the period of expansion of the United States into the American West, from 1825 to 1890. Through fictional and historical characters, the series used two primary symbols--the wagon wheel and the Lakota medicine wheel -- to join the story of two families: one Native American, one White settlers, as they witnessed many of the 19th century's pivotal historical milestones. The award-winning Into The West can now be seen in its entirety on YouTube.

Individual Episodes:
1. Wheel to the Stars
2. Manifest Destiny
3. Dreams and Schemes
4. Hell on Wheels
5. Casualties of War
6. Ghost Dance

Wikipedia: "The show has a large cast, with about 250 speaking parts," including Irene Bedard, Tonantzin Carmelo, Keri Russell, Alan Tudyk, Skeet Ulrich, Balthazar Getty, Matthew Modine, Graham Greene, Wes Studi, Beau Bridges, Sean Astin, Lance Henriksen, Rachael Leigh Cook and Keith Carradine. IMDB has the full cast list.

USA Today: "In its drive for authenticity, West hired Lakota adviser Charlie White Buffalo to teach the Lakota language to the actors playing Native Americans (most of whom are descendants of Native Americans)." More on the Lakota language can be found at Omniglot
posted by zarq (12 comments total) 61 users marked this as a favorite

 
I know what I'm watching this weekend. Thanks!
posted by dry white toast at 8:10 PM on September 20, 2012


I was disappointed it contained no Jewish mice families like Spielberg had promised in an earlier film.
posted by inturnaround at 10:28 PM on September 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Thanks, zarq! Looking forward to watching this with my kids.
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:47 AM on September 21, 2012


Into the West is also the name of a great children's movie starring Gabriel Byrne that is one of the most honest portrayals of Irish poverty and the Travelers.
posted by parmanparman at 2:36 AM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Where's the Blood Meridian episode?
posted by incandissonance at 6:19 AM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


the story of two families: one Native American, one White settlers, as they witnessed many of the 19th century's pivotal historical milestones

So is it a proto-Forrest Gump kind of thing? I don't think I ever heard of this, which is kind of odd despite my 10+ years of no cable. And it has no Metacritic score at all, which also seems kind of odd.

Is it any good?
posted by AugieAugustus at 6:27 AM on September 21, 2012


It has the good and bad characteristics of Spielberg productions. The good: high production values, sweeping tale, a basic respect for history even if the actors are too well-scrubbed. The bad: The heroes are too plucky. The villains too one-dimensional. The kids too suburban. The Indians are a bit too mystical - but that is hardly a Spielberg-only flaw.
All in all, I do recommend it, though, if you like the genre and have the time.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:37 AM on September 21, 2012


The Indians are a bit too mystical
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:37 AM on September 21 [+] [!]


lol
posted by AugieAugustus at 6:53 AM on September 21, 2012


It's also been running on AMC network.
posted by cass at 7:01 AM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not bad for a tv mini-series....so set your bar low and enjoy.
posted by Atreides at 7:14 AM on September 21, 2012


i enjoyed this show, but then i love historical dramas for the most part. there was one particular scene involving the doctor and an operation in wagon that i won't give any more details for to avoid spoilers, but man i do think about the scene from time to time. i kinda hadn't thought about that aspect of the Oregon Trail reality...i just figured you got dysentery and died and had to start the game over. i know this isn't about the Oregon Trail specifically, but you know what i mean. i can do small but i don't know spoiiler or mouseover
posted by sio42 at 7:37 AM on September 21, 2012


(most of whom are descendants of Native Americans)

This wording drives me absolutely crazy.

Descendants of Native Americans are... Native Americans. We are still here.
WE ARE STILL HERE.
posted by Athene at 4:56 PM on September 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


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