Title: Thrill of Actual Battle Leaps Forth from Indian War Films

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Four Miles of Celluloid Negatives Contain the Most Wonderful Pictures Ever Taken — War of Messiah Shown in All Its Harrowing Detail.


Up at Pine Ridge, S. D., there is loneliness now and quiet. The little hotel, a blazing center of activity for the last month, has reverted to its old status of quietude. The Indians roam the streets somewhat mournfully, while out where once there sounded the voices of many men and women, where once there echoed loud and disturbing the ["snokome-engo-o-o-o!"?] of the Sioux announcer, all to peace again, and the dull hills once more form the foraging ground of the wandering, hungry coyote. The greatest event that Pine Ridge has known since the War of the Messiah is past. The taking of motion pictures is over.

And that means a great deal, for the motion picture camp which established itself six weeks in the vicinity of Pine Ridge was the greatest the industry had ever known. And it had to be — for that camp was there for the purpose of reproducing history. The various phases of the War of the Messiah, the battles of the War Bonnet and Summit Springs, in which Buffalo Bill played the stellar part, were invidents [sic] of history which could not be reproduced with a few supers in blue coats playing as soldiers and a few more supers dressed to represent Indians. Lieut. Gen. Nelson A. Miles was there. Brig. Gen. Frank D. Baldwin, Brig. Gen. Marion P. Maus, Maj. Gen. Jesse M. Lee and Brig. Gen. Charles King were there — they had seen the original history and they were present to superintend its reproduction. And everything had to come up to the standard set by the generals.


And so, that history might be preserved as truthfully as possible, 800 Sioux Indians, the finest appearing Indians alive today, gathered at Pine Ridge. Tepee after tepee stretched its conical height upon the field. Acre after acre was taken up with tents and tepees and horses and wagons and [travels?] . Hundreds of squaws, hundreds of children — all were present and all were working in the great production.

Across the valley there showed the brown tents of the soldiers — real soldiers, hundreds of them — who had made the long march from Fort Robinson that they might impersonate the various troops which took part in the actual battles of the past. And with them was Col. H. G. Sickel, who was present at the battle of Wounded Knee, and who had come to Pine Ridge, that he might give his aid in bringing forth history exactly as history was made. More, in Crawford, awaiting the time when he would be needed, was Maj. Carter P. Johnson, an Indian fighter of many years experience, planning the happenings around the fort that he might be ready with every possible event to help the pictures.


And the gathering of the old timers that it meant! From everywhere, it seemed, there came men who had fought in the various battles, to gather around the stove at nights with Colonel Cody and the generals and talk of the wars of the past, to hurry out in the daytime and re-enact the fights which they had known in the days of long ago.

There was Philip Wells, who lost his nose, and regained it in the battle of Wounded Knee. There were the generals, with General Miles and General Maus playing bridge, General Baldwin riding and hunting, General Lee telling stories, Colonel Cody enlightening the audience with stories of the Indian sign language. There was Mike Russell of Deadwood, telling the stories of the past which gave him the name of Buckshot Mike. There was Hank Simmons, army wagonmaster of the long ago. There was Maj. John M. Burke, relating the burgling of his famous woodpile during the attack on the agency. And they all had only one thought — the reproduction of history as history happened.


And out at camp where the tepee fires showed through the painted canvas, where the announcers strode here and there calling out the news of the day, where Johnny Baker, champion shot of the world, talked and harangued and petted the old chiefs whom he had known for so many years, there were other survivors of the past.

In a little tent, just under the brow of a hill, dwelt Short Bull, who saw the Messiah and who is blamed (unjustly, he declares,) for the war which followed. A few yards away dwelt Dewy Beard, cousin of Horn Cloud, who fought his own way through the Battle of Wounded Knee, who saw his brothers fall one by one, but kept fighting on. A bit farther on there sounded the guttural voice of Jack Red Cloud, son of the Indian chief who fought the whites every foot of the way. Sitting in front of his tepee was Woman Dress, while No Neck, famous scout, lived nearby. Tottering along came old Flat Iron, 101 years old, they say, waving his scalps, taken in the days of long ago, before him. And when they talked to the white men, these fighters of the past, they talked through the interpretation of Ben American Horse, son of one of the most famous Indian chiefs in the world.

So it was with this company that the battles of the past were reproduced. And these pictures will show in four miles of film the whole happenings of a conspiracy which extended from the north to the south, the east to the west. And all in its right, its chronological order. There is to be shown the starving condition of the Indians in 1888. Then comes the announcement that the Messiah is soon to appear. The Indians seek him out; they come back with their wonderful stories of what is to happen.

Then, band by band, they break for the Bad Lands — and the Bad Lands are shown — great wastes of serrated cones and bluffs and steppes and buttes, great stretches of alkail [sic], great plains of waving grass. There the camp moves for a day to bring about pictures that can be equaled only by the actual Bad Lands themselves.

There is shown, too, the moving armies, and the efforts of the generals to bring in the Indians. The attacks on the rendezvous are shown; how the soldiers drove back the red men inch by inch, foot by foot, to the agency. The Battle of Wounded Knee is shown, the Battle of the Missions and, finally, the surrender. There is not a detail of that whole battle that is neglected on the films.


And when the older battles came — those of the Warbonnet and of Summit Springs, the camera was just as truthful. Again Yellowhead rode before his army, patting his chest, shouting out his prowess as a warrior and calling upon Pahaska to come forth and fight him. Again there shot a streak of humanity from the lines of Eugene Carr's soldiers. Again the struggles, the swing of the tomahawk, the flash of a knife and Buffalo Bill stood holding a scalp aloft and shouting:

"First scalp for Custer!"

So, too, Colonel Cody followed the footsteps to the battle of Summit Springs — and it was in this battle that one of the most spectacular scenes of the pictures occurred — the killing of Tall Bull.

Through ravines and gulleys the Indians fought, striving again and again to regain their camp. And everywhere was Buffalo Bill. Suddenly upon the top of a great spine of rock, Tall Bull rushed forth on his horse and across the canyon. He reached for his rifle. And just at that moment, Buffalo Bill, the object of the death lust of the Indian, saw his danger and whirled. Upon another spine at the opposite side of the canyon the scout rode. He checked his horse. He raised his Winchester. He sighted —.

But wait till you see it!