Spearfish Canyon

United States: Dances with WolvesSpearfish Canyon

Dances with WolvesFilm Location

A simple signpost marks the spot where Kevin Costner and his team filmed the final scenes of Dances with Wolves in the late autumn of 1989. Thirty years later, the area has become overgrown and it is hard to conjure up the Lakota camp in amongst the trees. The one consolation is the fact that the area is stunningly beautiful.

Spearfish Canyon in Spring:

The landscape is particularly stunning during the Fall months.

The nearby Roughlock Falls are a favourite destination for nature lovers. The Roughlock Falls Trail is a pleasant 3.2 kilometre round-trip with plenty of wildlife to spot.

Another popular waterfall is the Spearfish Falls, located in the heart of Spearfish Canyon. The track is more demanding and can be slippery. Starting on the north side of the Latchstring Inn restaurant, the trail drops to the bottom of the canyon and along to the falls.

For more travel information on the area, head to the official website of the town of Spearfish.

Key Scenes

Every Autumn, the Lakota tribe leave their summer camp in the prairie and head into the Black Hills to hunker down for Winter. Knowing that the U.S. Army is in pursuit, Lieutenant John Dunbar decides to leave his friends forever in order to draw the soldiers away from the camp. Being a deserter, he is the army's primary target.

The U.S. army is on its way.

The U.S. army is on its way.

Lieutenant Dunbar to Chief Ten Bears of the Lakota tribe: "But the soldiers hate me now like they hate no other. I am more than an enemy to them, I am a traitor. They will hunt for me. They will not give up. And when they find me they find you and that cannot happen."

The winter camp in Spearfish Canyon.

The winter camp in Spearfish Canyon.

After a few hours of contemplation, Ten Bears visits Dunbar in his tent: "You have always spoken with your heart. And like all of us, you are a free man and can do anything you like. When I look across this fire, I do not see a white soldier. I see only a Sioux named Dances With Wolves. And there is nothing they hate so much as a Sioux."

The farwell between John Dunbar and his two best friends, Kicking Bird and Wind In His Hair is heart wrenching. The last we seem of Dunbar is a scene where he and his wife Stands With a Fist ride into the forest.



The film location is on Forest Road 222 about three miles upstream from Spearfish Canyon Resort on the gravel road that passes by Roughlock Falls.

The GPS coordinates are N44 20.288', W103 57.564'.

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