Despite an irritating, tacked-on voice-over narration that somebody must have thought was necessary to make sense of the story (it wasn't), Last of the Dogmen is actually a very moving and magical film. Tom Berenger plays ... more »a Montana bounty hunter who helps an anthropologist (Barbara Hershey) search for the descendants of a Cheyenne tribe who disappeared in the 1870s. What the two find in a remote mountain stretch is an entire community of Cheyenne who have kept themselves cut off from the modern world. A Dances with Wolves parallel emerges as the white outsiders gradually fit in, but Last of the Dogmen stands up just fine without comparison to any other films. As in Kevin Costner's Oscar-winning movie, however, there are ways in which this film captures a similar sense of yearning, mystery, and loss. --Tom Keogh« less
Nancy W. from CHARLOTTE, NC Reviewed on 1/2/2011...
Good movie. It shows a lot of nature and it is entertaining. Loved it.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Darlene L. (Earthnut) from OKLAHOMA CITY, OK Reviewed on 6/15/2010...
I waited a very long time for Last of the Dogmen. It is one of my favorites and only had it on VHS. I recommend it highly.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Modern Day Western With A Century Old Feel
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 05/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This review refers to the HBO DVD edition of "Last Of The Dogmen"...
"Last of the Dogmen" is a beautiful story that takes my breath away everytime I watch it. It's one of those films that even if you start out viewing it alone, pretty soon, you'll find the rest of the family gathered around simply because one glimpse of the scenery,one paragraph of the dialouge,one look at the story and it's got a hold on you.
It's a modern Western, with all the romantic adventure of one that may take place 100 years ago. Lewis Gates(Tom Berenger) is a bounty hunter hired to track three deadly criminals who have escaped deep into the "Oxbow" of the Montana wilderness. As he follows their trail, he begins to uncover a 100 year old mystery. One of the clues is an arrow that could only have been used by a tribe of Cheyennes that existed over a century ago. He can't let go of what the possibilities may be and convinces the beautiful Dr Lillian Sloan(Barbara Hershey), expert in Native American culture, that there may be something incredible out there. Their search begins as they try to uncover the past, and what they find is a way of life too beautiful to be spoiled by modern day man and it is up to them to save it!
It's just an incredibly beautiful film that interweaves the search for the past with Gates' own ghosts from his past. The friendships formed,the evolving romance, the cinematogrpahy, the musical score, and the heartwarming story all combined for a wonderful film. Even "Zip" the dog(played by "Zip"), will be tugging at your heart.Berenger and Hershey worked beautifully together, and Steve Reevis and other American Indian actors were not only wonderful but lent a great deal of realism and authenticity to the film...Bravo!
The DVD presents a wonderful widescreen picture, taking in all the majesty of the Rockies. The DD5.1 is very good. The sounds of nature and the modern day sounds of helicopters and such, are quite a contrast to behold in surround sound.The DVD also has some nice features. It may be viewed with the sound in either the Theatrical version, or the Director version. Both are in DD5.1, and the main difference I found was that the Theatrical version has the captivating narration by Wilfred Brimley,and the Director's version does not. There is the option of Director(Tab Murphy) commentary, and it also provides subtitles in English, French and Spanish for those needing them.There are other features that include, cast bios and costume sketches as well.
If you liked "Dances With Wolves", give this one a try. I can not say enough good things about it. If you have already seen it, you will enjoy it again on this DVD. It's for Western lovers, adventure lovers, romance lovers and anyone who just wants to get lost in a good story for a couple of hours.It is rated PG(there is some violence and mild langauge)
Happy trails and enjoy.....Laurie
Public Eye [VHS](Barbara Hershey)
Great American Western V.11, The(4 films - stories of the American Indian)
Fine Storytelling, Authentic and Engaging tale
Diana Bandy | Taylorville, IL | 07/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Last of the Dogmen ranks as one of my favorite movies of all time. I own it on VHS and DVD and love the additional features that come on the DVD version. If you are interested in the background and behind the scenes details, you will enjoy the DVD. The picture quality is top notch and helps to do justice to the beautiful scenery.As far as the story, there is something so good, so valuable about the values displayed by Lewis and Lilly in regard to their discovery of the lost tribe of Cheyenne. They never even entertain the thought of making the Cheyenne's presence known to the rest of the world. A strong message of respect for people and nature flows through the film like a deep current. Berenger and Hershey are two seasoned pros that seem to be performing at their peak and I truly appreciate what their talents, wisdom, and experience brought to each of their roles and to the integrity of the story. The native american characters are real people, not "Indians." The actors that portrayed these roles did an outstanding and commendable job of portraying the Cheyenne people with dignity, humanity, and respect. The Cheyenne costumes, language, and customs were authentic.The score of this film is passionate and moving. It throbs with romance, majestic beauty, and life to the beat of a native american drum.In essence the film evoked for me purity, passion, wonder, and respect for life. If these are qualities that you appreciate in a story, you won't be disappointed."
Beautiful, Touching Film That Is Too Often Misunderstood
Dr. Karl O. Edwards | Helena, Montana | 04/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"December 5, 2008: I just finished watching the DVD version and it is fantastic. Most exciting for me was learning that my Master's Degree (Native American Studies) adviser, Dr Henrietta (Whiteman) Mann, was the Cheyenne consultant on the film. I am negotiating to keep the DVD that I got to watch, but I will definately be updating my review before the end of the year.--Karl
This review is based upon the VHS version, as the DVD version needs to be re-released so all can afford to enjoy the movie in the wide-screen format.
As a former professor of Native American Studies, I have been asked numerous questions about this thought provoking, well photographed (although I wish they would actually film movies about Montana, in Montana), and touchingly portrayed movie. After reading many of the reviews, including the editorial reviews, I find myself compelled to write my own review; and have waited this long only in hopes of viewing the DVD version first. But, after two years of unanswered letters to the production company requesting that the movie be re-released, I purchased the VHS version. To the best of my knowledge, the primary difference, which is unfortunate, is that the VHS version is full screen.
First off, I can not comment on what the producers/director/writer were thinking or intending to accomplish with this film; I can only comment on what I think about the film as I view it. And, as such, let me start by stating that the movie is NOT ABOUT Cheyenne Indians, Dog Soldiers, bounty hunters, or Montana. The movie IS NOT a western, a historical film, a cinema that "pours 'Dances with Wolves' syrup into some parallel copy cat fashion, or an escapist adventure.
What the movie IS, as stated to those listening, is a modern day legend; a fanciful, romantic tale told in "campfire" tradition. The movie IS a story being told--not acted out or portrayed--to the viewer; it IS AN ORAL tradition, rendered in cinematic format. As an oral story, then, the "irritating, tacked-on voice-over narration that somebody must have thought was necessary to make sense of the story (it wasn't)," is in fact an intrinsic component of the movie experience: the viewer is listening to the story teller and imagining the story in their mind. Equally important, the story teller tells us--the listener/viewer--that the events may or may not be so (i.e., true). It is from this context--of, what if it were true--that the content of the tale opens up to juxtaposing history and wishfulness into one beautiful, touching story.
In the tale of the "Last of the Dogmen," Lewis Gates (Tom Berenger's character) is repeatedly described in reviews as a bounty hunter, which clearly is not the case. I can only suppose that the fact that Gates is being hired (or that Dr Lillian Sloan (Barbara Hershey's character) sarcastically calls him a bounty hunter), somehow implies this, but anyone paying attention to the story can see that he is given a badge and Gates is an experienced back country guide (for which Montana has many such men and women). Such individuals are frequently part of search and rescue operations, and, when required, paid well for their work. I find Berenger's portrayal as such a person very accurate, and true of the one or two I personally know. As for the "Oxbow" region of Montana, I can only suppose that this is a quirky reference to the "Oxbow Incidence," and the use of the term to refer to a "U" shape bend in a river. Based upon other comments in the movie, I must assume that the movie is supposed to take place from the western part of Glacier National Park (where Logan Pass is located) to the Kootenai Forest; while the town of Yaak, Montana, could be the town portrayed in the movie. Are there rugged parts of Montana where few people go? Yes--especially the region I just described. Can someone hide there for long periods of time? Yes; just look at Biathlon World Championship Kari Swenson's story ("Abduction" (aka The Abduction of Kari Swenson) (VHS Tape - 1989); or 'Mountain men' case captured national attention, By GAIL SCHONTZLER, (Bozeman, Montana) Chronicle Staff Writer).
However, the character I most related to--and I suppose why so many ask me about the movie--is Dr Lillian Sloan (Barbara Hershey's character). Her love and respect (yes, I was disgusted with the fact that she was in charge of an archaeological "dig") for Native American cultures is nothing less than a reflection of myself. Is everything she states accurate? NO. Accuracy, in true non-Native American "campfire" tradition, is surrendered to what sounds best. Then again, without this bending of the truth, the premise of the tale is lost: survivors of the Massacre at Sand Creek "escaped" to northwestern Montana (which Hershey's character fairly well summarizes; also, see my review of "Soldier Blue" for comments on this massacre). Again, this is a "trick" of campfire tales: in 1864, there were literally only a few hundred non-Native Americans living in Montana, not the other way around! Moreover, there were no Dog Soldiers (a fraternal/men's social organization found among the Cheyennes and other tribes--although Wikipedia claims they were a band) at Black Kettle's encampment at Sand Creek; nor was Lone Wolf, a revered TRIBAL--not band--leader, present at the Sand Creek Massacre in southeast Colorado. To answer a question raised in another review, Dog Soldiers did not "pin" themselves to be the last one's fighting (as suggested by Hershey's character, Dr Sloan), BUT frequently acted as a rear guard during moves. In fact, there were many survivors at Sand Creek (but all were Southern Cheyenne/Arapaho Indians, not Northern Cheyenne--who reside in southeast Montana), not just a few as alleged by Dr Sloan (Hershey's character) in the movie. There was another men's society, frequently referred to as Contraries, that did "pin" themselves to be the last one(s) fighting (which is alluded to in the movie during Gate's dream), but they were as rare as they have become colorful in stories. Dog Soldiers--most likely because of their name--have been stereotyped by the media for centuries, as as such are a convenient group to tell stories about. To the movie's credit (albeit, mistakenly so most likely), they use the name Dogmen instead of Dog Soldiers. Lastly, I did not find Dr Lillian Sloan's (Barbara Hershey's character) interest in the Cheyenne to be "swooning over the 'noble savages'." I find her actions to be just what I would do, given the chance to find myself back in time when traditions were unchanged by European influences. Nor do I feel that the portrayal of the Cheyennes is stereotypical or romantic.
While the movie, like all movies, has flaws that detract from the film, Hershey and Berenger give wonderful performances, and the movie is one that will stand the test of time as a great form of entertainment, that can be watched over and over (hopefully on DVD soon).
As one final note, I would welcome any questions concerning the Cheyennes, one of four Native American nations I have studied for over 30 years.
Update--1 July 2008: If this review was not helpful to you, I would appreciate learning the reason(s) so I can improve my reviews. My goal is to provide help to potential buyers, not get into any arguments. So, if you only disagree with my opinion, could you please say so in the comments and not indicate that the review was not helpful. Thanks."
Fantastic Movie! Where's the DVD?
Mike Neimoyer | 09/07/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My roommate is a native american buff, and was watching this movie as I was gettting home one day. I sat down and watched it with him on a whim.Wow.This wondrous tale of innocence lost and found again is something that I'll never get tired of. Sure, the narration by Wilfred Brimley may not have been necessary, but you know what? It certainly doesn't detract from the film, and the film is simply amazing in it's own right. Tom Berenger and Barbara Hershey are a fantastic and I'm glad that I got a chance to see this film. I've now seen it three times, and I'm really hoping that it's released on DVD so I can purchase it."
I loved this movie!
skunktrain | So. California, USA | 12/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie just sort of snuck up on me. I was having a bad day, and it was on TV, so I thought I'd give it a chance. And it turned out to be *just* the thing to pick me up from my doldrums.A very, VERY sweet movie that is interesting, gripping, has some mystery, romance, and is fine for the whole family. Highly recommended.Beautiful scenery (I always love beautiful scenery) and two wonderful main characters. Tom Berenger is a grumpy, reclusive and rather shy tracker who get sucked into a very unusual quest -- to find a lost Native American Tribe. He is wonderful in his roll -- he does "grumpy but lovable" better than most other actors I can think of.Barbara Hershey is fantastic too. Beautiful, brainy, capable, dedicated and a perfect compliment to Berenger's character. I really admired her in this film.I won't reveal too much of the plot here, but it is a delightful film, and I highly recommend it. Maybe a little on the longish side, but I wouldn't have it any other way. One of my favorite movies to date."