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“Winter in the Blood” film a labor of love for Native American actors

Sally Mauk

The new film "Winter in the Blood", based on the late Montana author James Welch's novel, had its Montana premiere over the weekend in Missoula.

The film and novel tell the story of a young Native American man coming to terms with a painful past, and with his life growing up on a northern Montana reservation.

"They get a little peek through a window that is not often opened."

   The cast features several Native American actors, including Chaske Spencer who plays the lead character, Virgil First Raise - and Michael Spears, who plays the character Raymond Long Knife. Spencer grew up on Montana's Fort Peck reservation, and Spears grew up on a reservation in South Dakota. The cast also includes actress Dana Wheeler-Nicholson who plays the waitress Malvina in the film,  and who in real life is married to the film's co-director Alex Smith.
    All three actors recently sat down in our studios with News Director Sally Mauk to talk about the film, which was shot in a short 22 days along Montana's Hi-Line.

Retired in 2014 but still a presence at MTPR, Sally Mauk is a University of Kansas graduate and former wilderness ranger who has reported on everything from the Legislature to forest fires.
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