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Where Was Dances With Wolves Filmed?

Aside from the incredible popularity Kevin Costner has gained from his role as John Dutton in "Yellowstone," which recently wrapped up its fourth season, the 67-year-old is most known by fans from his string of blockbuster films from the late 1980s and all of the 1990s. Whether it's "The Bodyguard," "The Postman," or "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," anyone who grew up around that time witnessed Costner become one of the biggest movie stars on the planet. However, it would be 1990's "Dances With Wolves" that truly gave Costner the boost he needed throughout the rest of the '90s and into the 2000s.

Adapted from the Michael Blake novel, "Dances With Wolves" follows Lieutenant John Dunbar (Kevin Costner), a soldier in the Civil War who is promoted after accidentally leading the Union to a successful battle after a suicide attempt. He requests a position on the Western Front, although when he gets there, the former Union post is deserted. John begins to befriend the nearby Native American tribe along with a roaming pack of wolves, and becomes fond and supportive of their way of life. Ultimately, John learns the customs of their people and defends them against the Union when they begin killing members of the tribe, becoming fully accepted in their community.

"Dances With Wolves" ended up winning seven Academy Awards, with Costner winning one for Best Director along with receiving a nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role. It is certainly well-deserved, as the shoots must've been extensive and challenging out in nature — but where exactly was "Dances With Wolves" filmed? Here's what we know.

Dances With Wolves was filmed in South Dakota, and they're very proud of it

According to the official South Dakota Tourism Industry website, "Dances With Wolves" was filmed over multiple locations in the state in 1989. Specifically, the movie featured many shots over the western South Dakota prairie, and the Native American tribe that is portrayed in the film actually draws from Lakota Sioux culture — those who resided in the state. "Dances With Wolves" was shot over a few different locations in South Dakota according to the site. The first was 1880 Town, located in the southwestern part of the state and features replicas from the movie. The second is south of Rapid City, where they used the location for some buildings and a sawmill, including the scene where John was given his orders to the Western Front. The final location where the movie was actually filmed, specifically the winter scene, was in a location called Spearfish Canyon, a beautiful nature area.

South Dakota itself is very proud of the work that Costner and the crew did on "Dances With Wolves." In fact, the state even has an official film museum dedicated to over 50 movies that were shot in and around specific areas of land. You can even find a list of South Dakota's filmography and information on every movie that has been recorded within its borders, including "Nomadland" and "National Treasure: Book of Secrets." It's incredibly interesting, and South Dakota clearly tries to support filmmakers and authentic storytelling, something "Dances With Wolves" lead with by example.