The Only Good Indian

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The Only Good Indian
Original poster
Directed by Kevin Willmott
Produced by Tom Carmody
Written by Tom Carmody
Starring Wes Studi
J. Kenneth Campbell
Music by Kip Haaheim
Cinematography Matt Jacobson
Jeremy Osbern
Edited by Sean Blake
Vicky Goetz
Thad Nurski
Mark von Schlemmer
Release dates
  • January 16, 2009 (2009-01-16)
Running time
114 minutes
Country United States
Language English, Kickapoo

The Only Good Indian is a 2009 independent feature film directed by Kevin Willmott.

The film was shot almost entirely in Kansas—the only exception being a scene at Missouri's Ha Ha Tonka State Park[1]—featuring locations such as the Monument Rocks and Fort Larned. Filming occurred in 2007-2008 and the movie premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival,[2] subsequently showing at other film festivals. The film won Willmott "Best Director" honors at the American Indian Film Festival, as well as acting honors for Wes Studi and Winter Fox Frank.[3]


The story is set in Kansas during the early 1900s. A teenaged Native American boy (newcomer Winter Fox Frank) is taken from his family and forced to attend a distant Indian `training` school to assimilate into White society. When he escapes to return to his family, Sam Franklin (Wes Studi), a bounty hunter of Cherokee descent, is hired to find and return him to the institution. Franklin, a former Indian scout for the U.S. Army, has renounced his Native heritage and has adopted the White Man’s way of life, believing it’s the only way for Indians to survive. Along the way, a tragic incident spurs Franklin’s longtime nemesis, the famous `Indian Fighter` Sheriff Henry McCoy (J. Kenneth Campbell), to pursue both Franklin and the boy.

The film featured both the Kickapoo language and members of the Kickapoo tribe.[4]


  • Wes Studi as Sam
  • J. Kenneth Campbell as McCoy
  • Winter Fox Frank as Charlie
  • Paul Butler as Harkin
  • Thirza Defoe as Sally
  • Christopher Wheatley as Mean Joe
  • Laura Kirk as Miss Harris
  • Delanna Studi as Aquene


External links[edit]