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Onyx Film A Disappointment

Joan Beatty, F.S.I. Reporter

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      MARCH 1974      v04 n03 p27  
Story of Almighty Voice turned into just another good guy - bad guy Western

The Onyx Films production of "ALIEN THUNDER" starring Donald Sutherland, Dan George, and one of our own Indian people, Gordon Tootoosis of the Poundmaker Reserve, was shown recently here in Saskatchewan, drawing large crowds every night.

The show, filmed entirely at Duck Lake, had a lot of the local Indians as well as White people on the show. Ernestine Gamble of Beardy's Reserve played the part of Almighty Voice's wife which she did very well. This probably added a lot to the local interest of the movie and will continue to do so across Saskatchewan

During the show, you could hear remarks of recognition like, "There's Sarain Stump or there is Billy Madden!" Once in a while there would he a little giggle from a group of Indian people as Almighty Voice made remarks to his wife in Cree, seldom ever heard of in a picture show.

The script, based on a true story and written by a Canadian, W.O. Mitchell, is about a young Indian brave from the One Arrow Reserve at Duck Lake.

The young Indian, whose name was Almightyvoice, went to visit his brother one day only to find them worried about their baby's consistent crying. Upon inquiring, he was told the baby was sick due to lack of meat or meat broth.

He immediately went over to the Indian Affairs office to ask the agent if he could kill one of his own steers to feed the sick baby as well as other people who needed nourishing food. The answer to his plea was no.

Almightyvoice disobeyed the Indian Agent's orders and went ahead and killed one of his steers which he shared with his brother and his people.

Shortly after, he was arrested and while in his cell one night, heard a remark jokingly told by a guard that he would he hanged for what he had done. Late that night, he escaped and along with his wife who later joined, started the life of a fugitive.

One day he was spotted by a mountie and a metis scout. But despite Almightyvoice's warnings, they tried to arrest him and he was forced to kill the mountie. Almightyvoice was charged with murder and a $5000 bale was posted for his arrest or whereabouts.

For 19 months he eluded the mounties but finally met his end in a bluff at Botache along with his brother and brother-in-law, amidst an array of cannon shells.

The film, with estimated cuts up to an hour and half from the original script, fails to bring out the real story. It was been reported that W.O. Mitchell does not want credits for the script as he thinks it's been made into a typically good-bad guy western. "It's just not mine anymore," he said.

Along with seeing some of the most beautiful scenery in Saskatchewan, all I felt was bitterness for the type of movie it had been made into once again.

Even after seeing some of the most beautiful scenery in Saskatchewan in the film, all I felt was bitterness for the type of show it had been made into, the injustices of the Indian Affairs Department, and the stupidity of the R.C.M.P. who didn't know how to handle a simple situation and which resulted in the deaths of four mounties, two civilians, and three young Indian braves.

Gordon Tootoosis
Chief Dan George