Picks and Pans Review: The Last of His Tribe
updated 03/30/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 03/30/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST
In 1911 a starving Indian (Graham Greene of Dances with Wolves) wanders into a slaughterhouse in Oroville, in the foothills of the California Sierras. The last survivor of the Yahi, a people thought to be extinct, he is brought to San Francisco to live with anthropologist Dr. Alfred Kroeber (Jon Voight), who is delighted to have a chance to study "the last truly primitive man on our continent." Over time, the starchy and pedantic Kroeber ends up learning a good deal more than dialect from the Indian he names Ishi. Anne Archer, David Ogden Stiers and Jack Blessing costar.
Lustrously shot by director Harry Hook, the fact-based film is a thoughtful exploration of the noble-savage theme, made memorable by fine performances, especially that of Greene, who invests the role with dignity, an implicit sense of grief and a deep spirituality.