Possibly the most famous of all location movies, Orion Pictures' “Dances With Wolves” was shot in South Dakota between June and November 1989. The movie, released in 1990, was nominated for twelve Academy Awards and took home Oscars for Best Cinematography, Director, Film Editing, Original Score, Sound, Original Screenplay and Picture.
Featuring the beauty of the never-ending western South Dakota prairie, one of the largest herds of American Bison in the world, and the famous Lakota Sioux culture, “Dances With Wolves” introduced South Dakota's wonders to the world.
Those who are looking to see actual filming sites or memorabilia from the movie can visit:
- 1880 Town in western South Dakota, where visitors will find many props & memorabilia including a tent, wagons and a replica of a sod house. 1880 Town is 22 miles west of Murdo, directly off Interstate 90 at Exit 170.
- Fort Hays Chuckwagon Supper & Cowboy Music Show, south of Rapid City and home to a “Dances With Wolves” film set that includes original buildings used during the movie. Visitors are able to stand where John J. Dunbar stood when given posting orders. They can also see the supply house and sawmill used in the film.
- Kevin Costner’s own Tatanka: Story of the Bison in Deadwood , where visitors are able to see authentic costumes “Dances With Wolves” and other Costner movies. The destination also includes a larger-than-life bronze sculpture of 14 bison being pursued by three Native riders. Costner himself said that Tatanka "stands as a centerpiece for two cultures, one whose very lives depended on the buffalo and one who saw it as a means to an end. It recognizes and accepts that this is our mutual history. It can also represent the chance to move forward." While at Tatanka, don't miss the daily Lakota interpretive presentations and the many exhibits that are both fascinating and fun.
- Spearfish Canyon, where the film’s final winter scene took place. The site can be found north of Roughlock Falls in Spearfish Canyon in the Black Hills National Forest. It is located on Forest Road 222, about three miles upstream from the Spearfish Canyon Resort. The canyon’s Highway 14A is designated as a National Scenic Byway.