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The Way West [VHS]
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Top Customer Reviews
As the subtitle says, it only covers the years from 1845 to 1893. This arrangement is good enough for most people since most events happened during this period, including Custer's Last Stand, Chief Joseph, Red Cloud's War, Fort Laramie Treaty, Sitting Bull, Buffalo Bill...and so on. In addition, views from both red and white men are presented, which I think it quite balanced.
The story about native people is just one part of the history in the West, which is the main focus of this DVD. For those who want to know more, for example the Mormons, transcontinental railroads, Texas, Gold Rush...etc, I recommend Ken Burns's version.
Overall, I regard this piece as a warm-up for the American West history.
Unlike Ric Burns "The West" (which covers everything from the Conquistidors in Mexico to the Indians of the Northwest), this focuses almost entirely on the unending battle for the great plains between native americans and the whites. The photography, the narration, the actors readings, and especially the music are first rate, all lending to a sense of inevitable tragedy.
To me this seemed very balanced in presenting both sides of the story. It documents the breaking of treaties and the atrocities committed by Indians every bit as much as those committed by whites. There are several very graphic photos of white men mutilated by Indians. (This is NOT for children.)
I'm at a loss to understand the previous reviews saying this portrays "all white Christian men" as evil and all Indians as victims. Over an hour is dedicated to just the Battle of the Little Big Horn. How does that portray Indians as helpless victims?
The fact that these reviewers feel this is an attack on all white Christian men tells us much more about those reviewers than it does about this incredibly moving documentary.
This documentary covers primarily the conflict between whites and the Native Americans in excruciating detail. The sad truth is that, no matter what the government's policy toward the Indians, these wars and their tragic outcomes were probably inevitable because of the difference in cultures. The white man's obsession with owning and farming land and his obsession with gold would never have allowed the Indians to keep their land. The blatant racism against Indians and their culture is never-ending, as quoted in numerous newspaper editorials from the period and comments from the generals who tried to annihilate both.
So, buy The West for more information. But buy The Way West for one of the most emotionally moving documentaries ever made.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
i just love this tape so much it is great i just love to watch it thank you so muchPublished 21 months ago by basti
Ken Burns is an amazing documentarian. He brings the West alive in this video. I learned things that I did not know previously. Take the time to watch. It is well worth the time.Published on December 6, 2011 by Becky Kruse
I wanted an unbiased and detailed review of the impact the US Government and white settlers had on native tribes. Read morePublished on May 9, 2011 by Bruce A. Hendrickson
In style and format, this has all the markings of a Ken Burns documentary, despite being by Ric Burns (the archival photos, actors reading letters and official documents, even the... Read morePublished on September 8, 2009 by Prof TLP
I don't know what ax the previous two reviewers had to grind. The documentary gives balanced views from both sides of a very complex story. There are amazing images. Read morePublished on April 26, 2007 by tintintoo
MY WIFE IS A DESCENDANT OF THE NATIVE AMERICANS. BUT, THAT BEING SAID. I WANT THE TRUTH. I WANT A BALANCED, HONEST, ACCURATE DOCUMENTARY TO WATCH. Read morePublished on February 13, 2007 by JOJO DANCER
One sided "politically correct" view that all white men (particularly Christian white men) are evil, greedy, murderous slugs. Read morePublished on February 6, 2007 by IQ
A riveting overview of the western experience. Especially toppy on the Indian wars on the Great Plains.Published on January 5, 2007 by Bryan L. Jones
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