BETWEEN 1800 & 1900, ALMOST 300,000 NATIVE AMERICANS WERE SLAUGHTERED. IT WAS THOUGHT THAT NONE HAD REMAINED IN TEH WILD, UNTIL ONE DAY IN 1911, A DOCTOR & HIS WIFE DISCOVER ONE SURVIVOR - AND WITH HIM, THE SECRETS OF A VA... more »NISHED LAND.« less
"This film is a must see for many reasons, primarily because it documents the very end of the ~15,000 year legacy of free Native Americans on this continent: "Ishi," the last Yahi and free ranging Native American is forced by circumstance to enter modern civilization in the early 20th Century in California. The historical significance alone makes it worth seeing.
Beyond that, Graham Greene and Jon Voight give outstanding and moving performances. Greene (who is always excellent - Clearcut, Thunderheart, Dances With Wolves, etc.) as Ishi, and Voight as the genius anthropologist who takes him in.
Voight's character is a pure scientist through and through who finds it difficult to get emotionally involved with much of anything. He prefers to look at the world in terms of evidence and hard data. He is distant as his wife is dying, and Ishi tells him (paraphrasing) 'you put me in your book, but not in your heart.'
MARY TITHOF | PERRIS, CA United States | 07/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I read the book, but the movie really brings home what the story meant. Truly amazing and heart wrenching - you will cry for Ishi, you will cry for all the Native Americans. Truly a must see! You will not be disappointed. Greene does another remarkable job!"
A satisfying, sweet, & good, (if not great) movie
D. McDavitt | Arlington, VA United States | 03/11/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Last of his Tribe" is a satisfying, sweet, & good, (if not great) movie. It is the simplified (& slightly fictionalized) account of the last Yana Indian nicknamed, "Ishi" by A. Kroeber (an early anthropologist at U.Berkley). It accurately portrays Kroeber's struggle to keep emperical distance from his subject as his love & friendship grew for this stoic, kind, and generous man. It is based upon the (second-hand account) book written by Kroeber's second wife Theodora (also an Anthropologist) over a decade after the events. A. Kroeber never published anything about Ishi- and even quit Anthropology for a few years after Ishi's death, so distraught was he over his friend's death, and the perception that they had killed him by working him too hard (Ishi died of tuberculosis 3 months into Sapir's linguistic analysis). The film is sensitively acted by experts (Jon Voight, Graham Greene, David Ogden Stiers). The sets & details are reasonably accurate , but even when they could translate Ishi's stories, songs, & explanations literally, they could often not make sense of them- lacking the cultural background knowledge & the Yahi's conception of the universe/ time. The film takes some unnecessary liberties with the story (**No mention of translators E. Sapir or Indian S. Botwi** Ishi was more involved with the community- playing with local children, dating, etc.** what stunned Ishi most was crowds- he had never seen more than about 60 people together in his life** Dr. Pope was one of Ishi's main advocates/friends & not weird & insensitive ** Kroeber was able to go on sabbatical in Europe [not work at a NY museum] b/c Sapir was working with Ishi... You'll cry at the end. Read T. Kroeber's book, " Ishi in Two Worlds: A Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America" and the dvd documentary, "Ishi - The Last Yahi"."
Robert L. Heslop | Cupertino, CA United States | 11/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie has great historical value, especially for the State of California. The story of Ishi is one everyone should know. He was the LAst of His Tribe and just came walking out of the bush one day. No one even thought there was any of his tribe left and he taught us all a great deal about a people that had been wiped of the face of the earth. The acting in this movie was great and if you are a fan of Ishi then this is definately a movie you want to see. If you are a fan of History, see it as well."
This movie left me hanging in mid air
Kathleen Carter | Texas via Wisconsin | 12/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I saw this movie it was just by happenstance. I didn't set out to watch it. I was just bored and found it on the store shelf. I was so shocked that I had never heard of this movie. Being a Native American from the Oneida and Stockbridge Munsee Tribes I am drawn to movies about Native Americans especially those that are based on fact. I had never even heard of this person or that anyone like this existed. My first feeling upon starting to watch the movie was of feeling cheated. Wondering why if this story was out there our teachers in school never used it to "enlighten" their students etc. Then as the story unwinds I found myself extremely sad. I cried at the end because it all felt so surreal. Even to this day when I think about the movie, the story of this man, I feel lost. Stories like this make you wonder what life is all about and how fleeting life is. We're all here but a second then we're gone. Will we leave a legacy of any substance? Hmmm still points to ponder. I guess I felt cheated because Ishi's life did matter to someone, but that most of society will never know of him or his tribe. At times like these the world seems soooo big and lost. I wish Ishi's life story was made available to young people while they are in school. And in that regard I will no doubt buy a couple of copies to distribute to the local schools in my area. And just maybe we can spread a little knowledge about the indigenous people of these United States. Our culture has almost been swallowed whole by the cultures that moved in, it's nice to know that someone cared enough to put pen to paper and detail Ishi's life. Thanks to all who wrote the book and those who decided to make it into a movie. I also, want to point out that the movie left me wanting a lot more. I feel like you should go ahead and watch the movie but then buy the book so that you can delve into the real person Ishi was. A movie a little less than 2 hours does not do Ishi's life justice..."