Based on a true story, a black educator takes a job teaching high-school English at the Three Nations Reservation, and is coaxed into coaching the girls’ basketball team.
Here is the official trailer:
I’m a little confused on the reservation location. Although the reservation known as Three Nations Reservation is in North Dakota, the greatest rival of the female basketball team is from Zion High School . . . and the film was shot near Salt Lake City. The Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation is located in northeastern Utah, so it doesn’t add up, but we have to make believe, which is fine with me.
This film is worth re-watching. I’ve seen this film, On the Edge of America three or four times regardless of what the actual name is. I like the premise and I like the acting. James McDaniel has the whitest teeth I’ve ever seen and his character flip flops as a coach. His character, Kenny Williams, still carries a grudge against his old basketball coach, which he feels cut him out of going pro. He drives across the bleak landscape of Utah to find the High School where he was hired as an English teacher. He doesn’t work well with people and he has a chip on his shoulder, but all of this is forgiven by the story and the acting. Wes Studi is one of my favorite actors. He owned the character of Magua in Last of the Mohicans. I would watch any film he’s in and the big kicker with Edge of America is that his daughter plays one of the young women basketball players.
Geraldine Keams plays Mother Tsosie in this film. She plays a Native American elder who believes in the Indian ways. Here is her own clip showing her delivery in several films – imdb.com/video/vi1456584985
I liked the interaction of African American vs Native Americans. There is humor in the film as the following quote shows:
Annie Shorty: Most of these kids have never met an African American before.
Kenny Williams: Well, I met my first Native American yesterday.
Annie Shorty: Indian.
Kenny Williams: Black.
Although I watched this film via Roku, I’m sure I’ve seen it on other channels as well.
Here is a fan’s review of the film from IMDB:
Edge of America
The premise is reasonable. Basketball is big on many reservations, and there are black basketball players (e.g., Kareem Abdul-Jabaar) who have volunteered on reservations. Sure, there are a lot of clichés from other Indian movies. But overall, the acting is good (especially Wes Studi), though the black coach’s performance is a bit stiff at times. The most surprisingly thing about the film to me is that it never got any kind of commercial release. But then again, it is about Indians. And who is the Uwhited States of America cares about Indians? Not many people. Fortunately in my town there are several outlets to see non-commercial movies (“Christmas in the Clouds” is another good, Native-American-theme movie that you probably won’t see unless you live in a similar town). Anyway, thanks, Mr. Eyre, for a good show. Maybe not your best pic, but still a good one.