The Black Hills Travel Blog

Costner's connection to the Black Hills

By • Sep 21st, 2009 • Category: Culture

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Hollywood superstar, Kevin Costner, spent this past weekend in South Dakota as the the featured guest of honor at the South Dakota Film Festival. The event was held in Aberdeen, but most of Costner”s South Dakota ties are more in the western part of the state and the Black Hills.

As the festival”s guest of honor, he spoke at various events and shared his interest in South Dakota, American Indian culture and the arts. Although he splits his time between California and Colorado, Costner definitely feels at home in the Black Hills.

The Rapid City Journal quoted Costner this weekend, “Obviously, I have an affinity for this state. I have a long history here. My parents live in South Dakota. I have businesses here. I made “Dances With Wolves” here.”

Costner”s parents live in Spearfish and he filmed “Dances With Wolves” in various parts of western South Dakota. Many of the final scenes were shot just past in Spearfish Canyon. Costner”s business interests in the area include ownership in the in Deadwood and Tatanka – Story of the Bison.

Tatanka is an interpretive center and visitor destination that draws thousands of tourists every summer. It features larger than life bronze sculptures of fourteen bison being pursued by three American Indians.

When Tatanka first opened to visitors, Costner described it by saying “It stands as a centerpiece for two cultures, one whose very lives depended on the buffalo and one who saw it as a means to an end. It recognizes and accepts that this is our mutual history.”

The disply at Tatanka is definitely something to see next time you are in the northern Black Hills. And who knows, you just might bump into Mr. Costner himself.

About the Author

is a resident of Spearfish, S.D. He grew up in the tall-corn state of Iowa, where he developed an early interest in all things outdoors. After high school he moved to Vermillion, S.D., where he earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising. During his college years, two things caught his attention: the beauty of western South Dakota’s Black Hills and a girl from those Black Hills. After graduating from college, Joe traveled across the country as a recruiter for the University of South Dakota. He saw the sights from Pittsburgh to Las Vegas and everywhere in between, but it was the Black Hills (and the girl) that kept drawing him back. He and wife moved back to the Black Hills in 2008. He's an avid hiker, mountain biker and road cyclist whose future plans include trying to fit a pair of kayaks into the spare bedroom.
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