There is something special when people from South Dakota get to make a movie about living in South Dakota. Too often people from these parts get glossed over in popular culture. When the Plains do show up, it's too often as Ol' West charcuteries.

But this summer, a true hometown, South Dakota story is on the big screens. It's called War Pony and it was made on the Pine Ridge Reservation with people from the reservation.

And the best part? It's good! Really good.

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The Movie War Pony was Made in South Dakota

It's a modern slice-of-life story that follows two young Lakota men as they come of age on the reservation. It is about how tough life is on the reservation. Isolated, forgotten about. But, it's also about friendship, the found family, and affection for where you come from.

Jojo Bapteise Whiting, in his first acting role, stars as Bill, alongside LaDainian Crazy Thunder as Matho, also in his first credited role.


Who Made the Movie War Pony?

War Pony came about when director Riley Keough was working on a move and met Franklin Sioux Bob and Bill Reddy. The pair were extras in that movie.

Franklin Sioux Bob and Bill Reddy told Keough stories about their lives on the Pine Ridge Reservation. She connected them with her friend and co-director Gina Gammell. They worked for several years developing the movie.

The film was shot in South Dakota, on the reservation with several locals as part of the production.

War Pony premiered in 2022 at the Cannes Film Festival where it was awarded the  Caméra d'Or, the award for best first feature at the festival. The film then was released to US theaters on July 28, 2023.

Where Can I Watch the Movie War Pony?

War Pony is available for rent or to buy on AppleTV, Google Play, Amazon; all the usual streaming places.

35 Movies That Take Place in South Dakota

When it comes to South Dakota and Hollywood, we've seen our fair share of films that have used our state as the backdrop for a number of productions over the years. They may not have always filmed here, but movie folk love to set stories here.

We're all familiar with the blockbusters like 1990's Dances With Wolves, 1959's North By Northwest, and more recently, 2007's National Treasure: Book of Secrets. But our state's life on the big screen goes back nearly 100 years.

According to IMDb, it all started with Courtin' Wildcats, a 1929 film which, like so many of the 29 films on this list, is a Western set in the time before South Dakota became a state in 1889.

8 Celebrities You May to Run Into In South Dakota

You may not think of South Dakota as the crossroads of celebrity life. That's a good thing, we kind of like to live under the radar here on the upper plains.

But, living in South Dakota we are just a few degrees away from stardom. Not just because the author of the Little House on the Prairie books is from here. Or because every time Tom Brokaw shows up on TV, someone will say, "You know he's from Yankton."

We may not have as much of a chance at a celebrity sighting in South Dakota as we would in Minneapolis, but there are some famous personalities you may run into in the 605.

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