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South Dakota residents plan event to remember 'Dances with Wolves' filming 25 years ago

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PIERRE, South Dakota — Residents of central South Dakota are preparing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the start of filming for the Academy Award-winning movie "Dances with Wolves."

Kevin Costner filmed much of the movie in central and western South Dakota. Nearly 100 residents of the Pierre-Fort Pierre area were involved in the making of the movie, working as extras or behind the scenes, or providing services through their businesses, according to the State Historical Society.

About a dozen speakers will discuss their experiences during an anniversary celebration July 18-20 at the Ramkota RiverCentre in Pierre.

"We have a wide variety of experiences represented with our speakers," said Bill Stevens, of Pierre, who was a production assistant and van driver during the filming.

The event also will include a visit to Houck Buffalo Ranch southwest of Fort Pierre, where some of the film was shot.

"Dances with Wolves" was a western epic about a Union Army soldier who befriends Lakota Indians. It won seven Academy Awards, including best picture and best director.

"'Dances With Wolves' brought new attention to our state, and we benefited from a better understanding of our history and a draw of tourists to South Dakota," State Historical Society Director Jay Vogt said.

A similar anniversary event is being considered for Rapid City in the fall.

Costner, who co-produced, directed and starred in the movie, is not expected to attend this month's celebration. He will be invited to a celebration next year of the 25th anniversary of the film's release in 1990, according to the Historical Society.

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