Here’s a first official look at Actress Jessica Chastain as Catherine Weldon and Actor Michael Greyeyes as Sitting Bull in Woman Walks Ahead, the upcoming biography drama movie directed by Susanna White:
“The story follows Catherine Weldon (Jessica Chastain), who moved from Brooklyn to the Standing Rock Reservation in Dakota Territory to help Sioux chieftain Sitting Bull keep the land for his people. Weldon wrote letters to the federal government on behalf of Sitting Bull and lived on the land for several years with her son.”
What do you think of Jessica Chastain as Sitting Bull’s white squaw? She’s a bit too slim, nope?
Anyway, love Sitting Bull’s colorful garment, so kitsch!
Still no official release date.
Update – Two new pictures:
Already one can see it – although the script’s author and movie’s director have had access to and knowledge of the true story of Caroline Weldon (sorry, it is not Catherine!) – a middle aged woman from Brooklyn in her late forties – an amateur artist (not “portraitist”) as is stated, in typical late 19th century city garb, complete with high collar to conceal the neck and a hairstyle that was parted in the middle and knotted into a tight bun on the back of the head and Sitting Bull, a stocky man in his latter fifties, they chose to create an image of fiction. Imagine, a middle-aged Victorian woman from Brooklyn riding on a horse! Not realistic at all and totally wrong. Sitting Bull, as is well documented, took to wearing cotton shirts as early as the 1870’s – nearly 20 years before he would have met Caroline Weldon. He tended to wear woolen leggins made of dark blue trade cloth. Rudolf Cronau, a 19th century journalist and illustrator, who published one of the earliest descriptions of Sitting Bull mentions that he met him in the sutler’s store at Fort Randall in the summer of 1881 and renders his appearance as a broad shouldered stocky man, with a large head and a broad nose. Cronau also drew Sitting Bull’s likeness which was then published in the GARTENLAUBE illustrated magazine in Germany. Caroline Weldon, a proper Victorian woman and member of the National Indian Defense Association (NIDA) genuinely interested to assist the Lakota in their plight against the Federal Government’s attempt to expropriate from the tribe millions of acres of land. There was certainly no romantic involvement as is insinuated. This motion picture likely will end up as a flop and deservedly so. It is disrespectful to the Lakota and Indians in general – purely made up for the benefit of yet creating another fast dollar in the fast paced entertainment industry. It is a creation of fiction merely utilizing the names and characters of real historic figures.
@SantaFean I agree with your assessment. I wanted to watch this movie until I found the two main characters were much younger than they actually were when they met. And romance? Not between them. I’m not sure if Caroline ever rode a horse but it is possible that a middle-aged Victorian woman could have found a need to learn to ride while in the village of Chief Sitting Bull. We do what we have to, no matter what current social styles try to impinge upon us.
thank you CroShayLady
if I may recommend – reading the original biography would give you lots of insights, “Woman Walking Ahead: In Search of Catherine Weldon and Sitting Bull” 2002 University of New Mexico Press by Eileen Pollack. The author unfortunately perpetuated an old and long persisting error using the subject’s given name as “Catherine” rather than the correct and documented “Caroline”. This error can be traced back to historian Stanley Vestal who first mentioned it in his biography “Sitting Bull, Champion of the Sioux” that was published in 1928. Stanley Vestal in the 1920’s interviewed surviving contemporaries of Sitting Bull who by then where quite old and he needed an interpreter for his sources did not speak any English and likely due to age might have mumbled (due to tooth loss), hence “Caroline” easily could have been misunderstood as “Catherine”. The 2002 biography is out of print, but there is an undated Kindle and Audio book version, very reasonably priced, that is being offered on Amazon.com
Also recommended reading would be Stanley Vestal’s “New Sources” published in 1934 and been reprinted numerous times since where original correspondence of Caroline Weldon is detailed. The actual letters that were found in Sitting Bull’s cabin after the latter’s death. The originals have since disappeared, possibly could be with the North Dakota Historical Society who hold a portion of Indian agent James McLaughlin’s papers – though some of the Mclaughlin papers I have seen recently offered for sale Heritage Auctions in Dallas TX.
Caroline Weldon all but assuredly never rode a horse, she was reputedly vain and it was not deemed lady-like in her days. She traveled primarily by horsedrawn vehicle, in fact it is documented that Sitting Bull himself picked her up at Fort Yates and brought her back. She also maintained friendships with local ranchers (the Van Solens among others) that would have helped to arrange for her transportation. Reading the book (Kindle edition) or listening to the audio book will give you lots of insights.