The Mystic Warrior

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The Mystic Warrior
Genre Drama
Written by Ruth Beebe Hill (novel)
Jeb Rosebrook
Directed by Richard T. Heffron
Starring Robert Beltran
Devon Ericson
Rion Hunter
James Remar
Apollonia Kotero
Branscombe Richmond
Theme music composer Gerald Fried
Country of origin United States U.S.
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Stan Margulie
David L. Wolper
Producer(s) Paul Freeman
Production location(s) Lang Ranch, Thousand Oaks, California
Cinematography Stevan Larner
Editor(s) Michael Eliot
Running time 300 min (including commercials)
Production company(s) Warner Bros. Television
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original network ABC
Original release May 20, 1984

The Mystic Warrior is a 1984 American TV movie about a band of Sioux and the efforts of one man to save his people from destruction through the use of mysterious powers handed down by ancestors. The movie was originally a nine-hour mini-series entitled Hanta Yo to be aired in 1980, instead aired in 1984 as a five-hour mini series with the new name. The mini series has been released on DVD in Germany, but no international release as yet.


Set in the years 1802 to 1808, the finished film focused on a young brave named Ahbleza, the son of Olepi, chief of a fictional lakota-speaking tribe, the Mahto ('Bear'). Blessed with supernatural visionary powers by the ancient Mahto seer Wanagi, Ahbleza sets about to save his people from the devastations of the future, among them the invasion of the white man. After a lengthy, truth-seeking odyssey fraught with tragedy and sacrifice, Ahbleza assumes his rightful place as spiritual leader of his tribe.



The five-hour miniseries The Mystic Warrior began life in 1979 when producer David L. Wolper announced plans for a ten-hour adaptation of Hanta Yo, an epic historical novel by Ruth Beebe Hill. Using as her main source a full-blooded Sioux named Chunksa Yuha, Hill fashioned what amounted to a Native American version of Roots, chronicling the history of the fictional Matho (lakota: 'Bear') tribe of the Oglala Lakota Sioux. Although Hill was briefly the darling of the literary cognoscenti, her book was ultimately attacked and discredited by a veritable army of Indian historians, teachers, and activists, who accused her of distorting and falsifying truths in order to promote her own (and Yuha's) sociopolitical agenda. Suddenly, all of the Native American support that had been promised to the miniseries version of Hanta Yo evaporated. When the project finally aired on May 20 through 21, 1984, its running time (and budget) had been cut in half, and the producer was obliged to qualify the credits by noting that the teleplay was based partially on Hill's book, but mostly on "other sources". Judging by the results, those sources would seem to have been such Hollywood fictional films as Cheyenne Autumn and A Man Called Horse. The filming location had to be changed from New Mexico to Thousand Oaks, California, so as not to offend the Indian tribes in the former state.


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