Growing up in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Chris Canfield knew it'd be the perfect place to set his first movie. Canfield was also a ranch kid, so it makes sense that that film would be a western.

The movie is called Black Wood. It's a "...classic western with a horror twist." It will premiere on July 22, 2022, at the State Theater in Sioux Falls (tickets) and the Historic Elks Theatre in Rapid City (tickets).

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They awaken an ancient ravenous creature known as The Wendigo

The story focuses on a Native woman who takes refuge from a gang of violent out-laws in the forests of the Black Hills. But the woords holds freighting secrets. The out-laws force the woman to lead them through the treacherous forest towards a fortune in gold. 

"When I first came up with the idea for Black Wood I wanted to tell a story that took place in the Black Hills of South Dakota," Director Chris Canfield said. "For half of my childhood, I was immersed within the Lakota culture in South Dakota, which in turn, became one of the biggest inspirations to make the project."

Montana-born actor Tanajsia Slaughter star of Blackwood (2022)
Montana-born actor Tanajsia Slaughter star of Black Wood (2022)

The movie is set in and was filmed in westren South Dakota

Telling a story that captures the grandeur of The Black Hills was part of the inspiration for Canfield. He also wanted to present a more fully realized portrayal of the people.

"I personally feel there are not enough stories, let alone movies, that portray Indigenous people in a light that is not typical to the 'Hollywood' standard," he said.

Making the film in South Dakota was also an important goal of the production. The team partnered with local horse wranglers and an experienced local costumer as well as using local people in the production.

"I want to make Black Wood as authentic as possible, "Canfield said, "this means having period correct wardrobe all the way down to having period correct saddles. We also had authentic translators to ensure the Lakota dialogue was accurate."

Blackwood (2022)
Bates Wilder (L) and Tanajsia Slaughter (R) in Black Wood (2022) PHOTO: THE BLACK WOOD MOVIE LLC

Movies about South Dakota made by South Dakotans

Director Chris Canfield grew up in Wyoming and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Dreams of working in the entertainment business led Chris to the Colorado Film School in Denver. After graduating he worked in various production departments, becoming a Production Designer for movies and tv shows. Black Wood is the first feature Chris has written and directed.

Black Wood stars Tanasjia Slaughter (Last Son), Stelio Savante (The Sopranos, Infidel),
Bates Wilder (Joy, Black Mass), and Glenn Morshower (The Resident, Transformers, 24).

Tickets for the State Theater run of Black Wood are on sale now here.

Along with the premiere showings at Sioux Falls State Theater on July 22, 23 and 24, the movie will be on the big screen in Rapid City, Denver, Phoenix, Okolomaha City, Kansas City, Clevland, and Los Angeles.

The movie will be available to stream July 26 on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, iTunes, and other digital on demand platforms.

See South Dakota's 'Dignity of Earth and Sky' Sculpture Up Close

LOOK: 10 Reasons to Visit the South Dakota Badlands

Returning from a weekend trip to Rapid City, South Dakota for state basketball tournaments we decided to visit the Badlands National Park.

A quick turn-off I-90 will take you into some of the most awe-inspiring scenery.

It's also fun to note that several big-screen movies were filmed in the Badlands. Dances With Wolves, Starship Troopers, Armageddon, and most recently, Academy Award winner, Nomadland.

It's a spectacular park with tons to do. If you're setting out on a hike, bring lots of water and sign the hikers' logs at the trailheads. It could save your life. It's a tough place to survive.

Here are 10 facts about the Badlands:


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