leave a comment --Robert Pardi
Yes, the song-inspired legend continues. Every time Brady Hawkes (Kenny Rogers) tries to settle down, world events change his mind. 1890: As the US government steps up measures designed to confine Native Americans to reservations in 1890, the army mistakenly accuses Hawkes' old pal, Iron Dog (Richard Chaves), of slaughtering two settlers. At Fort Sage, Senator Henry Colton (Charles Durning) and Indian agent James McLaughlin (Dean Stockwell) work together to coax chiefs into accepting resettlement for their people while Colton pushes for his Dakota Land Bill to become national law, allowing his cronies to scoop up lucrative tribal territory. The once-great Sioux leader Sitting Bull (George American Horse), reduced to appearing in the famous Wild West show of Buffalo Bill (Jeffrey Jones), is uncertain about signing Colton's document; perhaps he should join his medicine man, Iron Dog, and lead his disenfranchised people in the Ghost Dance. Hawkes and his buddy, Billy Montana (Bruce Boxleitner), endeavor to clear Iron Dog's name and in the process discover both that a cavalry troop is stealing beef earmarked for the Native Americans and that Senator Colton owns stock in a firm that will profit from his legislation. When angry Native Americans kidnap Colton's aide, Hawkes intercedes for his release. But the renegade soldiers cover their tracks by trying to kill Hawkes and Montana with an Indian-style staking and by instigating a dust-up with Iron Dog's followers. Hawkes must link Colton to the cut-throat soldiers and try to broker a fair peace for the various tribes, even as US officials conspire to rob them of their heritage. Although the writers pad the story-line to mini-series length, they do make the most of solid historical material, and in this installment the freewheeling gambler's adventures take a back seat to a blunt assessment of the US government's genocidal campaign against America's first inhabitants.