CBS Movie-of-the-Week
Directed by: Jerry London
Character’s Name: Tokalah

A western love story set on the plains of Kansas in 1868. Tokalah is a warrior who is mysteriously drawn to a white settler named Anna, whom he had seen in a vision when he was a boy. After being captured, Anna first refuses his overtures, then gradually adjusts to her new life and begins to feel a connection to him.

Some 12.4 million homes watched this movie when it first aired on CBS. It won as that night’s most highly-rated program.

Michael says, “The response to this movie was overwhelming. People loved the movie, but also were impressed with me as well. CBS told me that they’ve never had the kind of response for a single actor ever. How cool is that?”

Michael later wrote, “Playing Tokalah was one of my favourite experiences as an actor. I had just finished filming ‘Crazy Horse’ for TNT the year before, and I was asked to co-star with Janine Turner in this MOW (Movie of the Week). I naturally jumped at the chance to play a romantic lead–which is a rarity for any non-white actor, especially a native one. I felt the experience of playing Crazy Horse gave me the confidence to portray a leading man like Tokalah effectively. He was a complicated character, but motivated to discover who Anna is and why he needs to be with her. From this, I believe I was able to create a character that had passion and intelligence. The director, Jerry London, gave me a lot of room to portray him with a certain degree of sensitivity instead of only ‘strength,’ which can also be translated as ‘stoic.’ In period portrayals of Indians, this is an all too common trap–a portrayal Hollywood filmmakers have now accepted as truthful and authentic. I remember, for example, charting the script to see how quickly Tokalah would have to learn English. I wanted to reveal the difficulty of learning the language without impeding his ability to communicate effectively with Anna. Subsequently, I think his progression from speaking no English, to broken English, to being quite articulate is believable, even though it occurs in about three scenes.

“‘Stolen Women’ was a hugely important role for my career–especially since it was seen by so many people here in North America and, of course, across the globe. The response to the film continues to amaze me.”

Photo © Michael Greyeyes, personal collection

NOTE FROM MICHAEL’S WEBSITE ADMINISTRATORS: The most frequent question from Michael’s fans is: “Where can I buy a copy of ‘Stolen Women, Captured Hearts’?” Unfortunately, CBS Television never released this film on home video or DVD in the U.S. or Canada. It is not available for purchase in North America. The Lifetime cable network in the U.S. has been re-airing it every couple of months. Check your local television listings, or Lifetime’s website, to see when it might re-air.

If we receive information on upcoming broadcast dates, we will post in the News section on Michael’s Home Page.

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