Customer Reviews: Into the West
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on November 29, 2005
I am reposting a review, as my previous review was deleted - AMAZON must use the same censors as TNT. This is NOT the same version seen on TV -- much has been removed to facilitate "classroom viewing." The TYPICAL practice is to included ADDITIONAL footage in a DVD release because the DVD doesn't have to cater to TV advertising time and audiences with short attention spans. The DVD customer wants a good film - didn't TNT ever hear of "Extended Versions?" Not only does this DVD NOT contain additional footage - footage aired in the original TNT TV broadcast has been censored. Its even more choppy than the TV version! Gone is Sitting Bull's sundance prior to the Little Bighorn - with associated deep native perspectives. The Wounded Knee footage is also heavily edited from the much more powerful version shown on TNT. Sanitized. The stark slaughter of the fleeing innocents - and hodgekiss guns - are gone. Instead we are left with the endless and boring side stories of Wheeler peripherals. The "extra footage" CD is also a waste -- a lot of pontificating from actors, and the music video. Would have much prefered an extended version - geared to an adult audience interested in solid history - not this mishmash of mini vignettes. Additional scenes to better tie the story together - and non-santitized TRUTH. History is too important. This is a heavily edited, sanitized, and choppy film - with a cheesy CD extra with a silly video. Would have prefered the real soundtrack and something with Joseph Marshall narrating. His narration in the film is one of the few good things, along with location shooting.
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VINE VOICEon January 2, 2006
I was ready to purchase this set and I even picked it up at the store and I was going to buy it but then I noticed that it said it was edited for "classroom viewing". The demographic for this show was not even close to child's age. I also can't think of a single classroom that would air a twelve hour show. It would take too long. I will purchase this DVD when it is sold in its original format and I encourage all of you to do the same.
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on December 28, 2005
If I could rate it as '0' I would. It isnt even listed as being edited or cut at all. Honestly, cutting scenes out of a movie that has already been seen on network television just isnt right. Most of the audience out there wants to see all of Into the West, not a watered down version. High school history classes included, besides with what these kids see on TV and movies as it is why even bother sensitizing history. Why dont we cut out half of Saving Private Ryan or other favorite but bloody educational movies.

So what I want to know is: when will Ted Turner come out and give us the real thing? Maybe even with extended footage eh? Cause, honestly, pulling tricks like this on his customers has to have them rattling the ratings chains... I'd say he owes us!!
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on February 11, 2006
I saw the film when it came out on TNT. My home is decorated in an Indian style as a tribute to what was done to a gallant and trusting people. When the film was released on DVD I immediately bought 2 of them, one for me and the other for my daugher who lives in Los Angeles. The first chance I got to watch it was this weekend and I thought there was a mistake made. I distinctly remember the ghost dances and how tears rolled down my cheeks at the climax of Wounded Knee. Meanwhile these are not on the DVD set. Is TNT nuts? I want my money back because this is ridiculous. There should at least have been a warning that there was an edited version for sale and not try to pull something on people who loved the movie and care about a people that were the victims of clear attempt at genocide.
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on February 13, 2007
I really loved this DVD however there were missing sections and skips in the plot which apparently were not missing in the original TV showing. Only when I had watched the entire series and then saw the special features did I realize that it had been majorly edited, as entire stories like the gold rush, Railroad building and several other important Indian stories, and connecting stories where gone.
Another anoying aspect is that in the special features section several key supporting actors talk about their scenes and clips are shown and these characters are not even on the DVD edition.
For example there is one main character who appears to disappear from
the story but actually returns later only much older. I couldn't tell if it was one of two possible choices as that part of the story ( two separate stories for the two different characters) had been edited out - this left me somewhat confused until I saw the special features section and a bit of the missing story there explained it.
I went over the DVD several times to see if somehow I had missed a story on the discs by clicking on the wrong button or something but they were just not there - that's why I am so bummed!!! I borrowed this from a friend and am glad I didn't spent any $ on it.
Also it is advertised as a 12 hour mini series but after the editing is only 6 hours or less = a ripoff!
What a crime to have altered for the worse such an excellent work of art not to mention the insult to all the actors who were edited out of the DVD version.
That's my only beef otherwise I would have given it 4-5 stars.
If you don't care about these inadaquencies then get it as it's very well done. OTHERWISE I RECOMMEND THAT YOU WAIT UNTIL THIS HAS ALL BEEN CORRECTED AND A NEW DVD IS ISSUED BEFORE YOU SPEND YOUR $
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on August 17, 2006
I found this DVD collection extremely frustrating. Good characters and acting, but the worse editing I have ever seen. Huge gaps that leave the viewer in a state of total confusion. For instance, why did the mountain man Wheeler leave the love of his life, his Indian wife, for what looked like fifteen years? Why didn't he know where she was? What happened to Keri Russell? I heard that she married an Indian chief, but why didn't I see that? Did I turn my head to look at something else in the room and miss it somehow? Did the original series really end with George pecking at his typewriter? That seemed to be a weak, bleak ending leaving him there at the school with the maniacal master. Later I read on line that the set had been edited for use in the classroom. What a mess. Whoever did this took a great story and reduced it to tatters. Why would these people imagine that tatters make a good school lesson? Does anyone know where or how I can see the full version that was on TV?
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on January 2, 2006
I was excited to receive this DVD set as a gift, since I'd only been able to see the first two episodes on TNT. Since the project was such a huge undertaking, covering two extended families over a 60-ish year period, I felt that much of the story had to be cut down to fit everything in. And there were definite "holes" in the series - such as what ever happened to Jacob Wheeler's first son, Abe? What happened to the storyline with Naomi Wheeler's life with the Cheyenne? I realize that much good material is left on the cutting room floor, but one of the benefits of DVD's is the ability to provide that material to the viewers after the fact. I was sure that the DVD set would have lots of "extras" -- and the Dreamworks site even promoted that delected scenes, a family tree, and an interview with Steven Spielberg would be part of the special features.

So what a disappointment it was to find that there were NO additional/extended, or deleted scenes in the special features. The "making of" extra was okay, but it just seemed to be about the different directors and their styles and not really a behind the scenes look at the story or actors; I found the "Lakota language" feature interesting, but the rest -- and it was a limited selection -- just seemed to be very superficial and uninteresting. I was even more surprised to read what other reviewers wrote - and find out that perhaps I missed out on seeing parts of this film that were shown on TNT but not in the DVD version!

Into the West was an enjoyable series, with fantastic scenery, a great cast, and a great story to tell. Shame on the studio(s) for falsely advertising things to what are obviously loyal and expectant viewers. If you loved the series and want to have it in your collection to watch, by all means get it. But if you are buying with the hopes of seeing more than what was broadcast on TNT, I wouldn't recommend it.
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on December 19, 2006
This miniseries is severely edited in its commercial DVD release. However, it was issued in its entirety, as televised, for Emmy consideration to Emmy members. This version is available now, used, from other web sites, although bidding may be involved in acquiring one. What a shame the commercial release is not complete.
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on April 26, 2010
This version is NOT the version that was edited for school. It contains all of the full-length episodes. ITW ran six episodes of two hours each, INCLUDING COMMERCIALS, so the person who claims that there were 720 minutes in the original version is simply wrong. This is a beautiful, compelling, heartfelt series that examines the dynamics of the 19th century in what was to become the American West. The acting and the scripts are of very high quality, and every aspect of these shows is superb, from the costumes to the make-up to the settings.

There's enough here telling you what this show is about that I don't need to go into that; just be aware that this version has no disclaimer about editing on its package, and that the times of the episodes are consistent with the original program. I also own the version that was sent to the Grammy voters and the episodes are identical on those six discs to those on these discs. Ask yourself why they would possibly edit the episodes sent to Grammy voters--it simply wouldn't happen.

And to the person who says this is far too long to show in schools, think again. We're in the middle of studying this work for the second time in a high-school class, and both times I've used it, the students have loved it, and they've learned more about this aspect of American history than they have in any history class. They've also developed a great deal of empathy towards the Native Americans, as they hadn't before realized just how difficult and horrific a transitional period these years caused them.

This also makes a great gift to people who appreciate high-quality film-making and compelling stories and great characters.
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on December 16, 2005
I've noticed that a few other reviewer's have compared ITW to Centennial. ITW,unlike,Centennial introduced characters and then "forgot" about them. Example: What happened to Kerry Russell's,"Naomi Wheeler",her Indian Chief husband & their child???? What happened to Abe Wheeler??? I found ITW a giant let-down. The cast was first-rate. The writing sadly was not.
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