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The film opens with Eagle Boy, a young man who is on a vision quest. It then cuts to the present, where a 17-year-old Lakota named Shane Chasing Horse is living on the Pine Ridge reservation. He is in trouble because he owes some money to a local gang—money he used to buy a beautiful ring for Mae Little Wounded, a girl he likes. Meanwhile, his mother asks him to drive his grandfather, Pete Chasing Horse, a storyteller, down to the powwow. Shane is reluctant. However, when the gang comes after him, Shane changes his mind and heads out to the powwow with his grandfather, who agrees to give him his truck once they reach the powwow. Grandfather tells Shane the story of a young Lakota man who tries to win the hand of Bluebird Woman. He also tells the story of how a thunder spirit falls in love with a Mohawk woman and brings her up into the ethereal world of Sky Woman, and of how she raised their son back in her village until he was struck by one of the villagers and brought back to live with his father.
Later, when a young redheaded man who is eager to learn about Native culture and hoping to be adopted by a Native American family asks to ride with them to the powwow, Shane says no. His grandfather then tells him the Kiowa story of Tehan, a white man who lived among the Kiowa and fought bravely alongside them, and Shane relents and lets the redhead ride with them. Shane’s grandfather then tells how Eagle Boy follows the advice of a shining spirit elk, and seeks out an old woman who can give him weapons with which to slay the mighty serpent Uncegila. He is repulsed when the ugly old woman embraces him, but reacts quite differently when she transforms into a beautiful younger woman. She reproaches him, but gives him what he needs. Eagle Boy slays Uncegila, whose heart instructs him and grants him great power and prophetic visions.
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