Skins (2002)

“The Other American Heroes.” The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home of the Lakota Sioux and one of the poorest areas in the United States, lies in the shadow of Mount Rushmore. Directed by Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals) and based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Adrian C. Louis, Skins explores life on the reservation through the eyes of tribal police officer “Rudy Yellow Lodge” (Eric Schweig) and his alcoholic, self-destructive brother, Vietnam War veteran “Mogie” (brilliantly portrayed by Graham Greene). Frustrated by the widespread unemployment, alcoholism and domestic violence on the reservation, Rudy starts moonlighting as a vigilante—but his actions lead to even more tragedy. Meanwhile, Mogie, whose drinking buddy “Verdell Weasel Tail” (Gary Farmer) dies after being caught in a bear trap, asks Rudy to “help me blow the nose off George Washington at Rushmore.” The solid cast includes Noah Watts, Michelle Thrush, Misty Upham and Lois Red Elk. Skins would make a great double feature with Powwow Highway (1989), which also starred Farmer and Greene. Eyre has a cameo as one of the police officers who show up at the abandoned house after Rudy hits his head on the rock.

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