Contemporary Indian life on the Crow, Cheyenne and Pine Ridge reservations in Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota is depicted. Indian farmers and ranchers are shown at work and play. In addition, Indian traditonal customs, the home life of the Indians, an Indian fair and an Indian vaudeville show are presented.
The Northwestern Film Corp. was located in Sheridan, WY. John E. Maple, the general manager of the company, obtained a special permit from the U.S. Department of the Interior to film on the Crow, Cheyenne and Pine Ridge reservations. Maple assembled a technical staff in Los Angeles, and had a laboratory built in Sheridan, but the company had no studio. Maple, who was adopted as a member of the Crow tribe, brought six reels of film to New York and arranged several private showings around the time of April 1918. In addition to four reels of documentary footage, Maple exhibited a two reel dramatic story, which was also copyrighted under the title Indian Life. Moving Picture World suggested that each reel of the documentary footage might be exhibited separately. No information has been located concerning the release of this film. but evidence indicates that it was released in 1918. The Community Motion Picture Bureau viewed the film on June 12, 1918. One modern source speculates that certain shots from the film were used in Maple's 1920 feature Before the White Man Came.