Main content

Facing The Storm

Facing The Storm

FACING THE STORM is the epic account of our tempestuous relationship with the iconic symbol of wild America. It explores the visionary quest to protect and restore bison and details the inextricable relationship of the Plains Indians with the animal. The film also recounts the harrowing near-destruction of the species in the late nineteenth century -- from an estimated 30 million bison to a mere 23 individuals by 1885. It explores the epic vision -- and monumental obstacles -- to restore bison to immense tracts of the Great Plains.

FACING THE STORM shows us that the American bison is not just an icon of a lost world, but may very well show us the path to the future.

“Enlightening.”  Tallahassee Democrat

“A smart, elegant production…sure bison are photogenic, iconic and mostly gone, but the film gets beyond the familiar story we think we know.”

“An incisive history of the animal’s relationship to man and efforts to restore bison herds to the Great Plains.” Kansas City Star

“Maps the tragic history of the American buffalo, the majestic species that was hunted to near extinction by western settlers and is slowly making a comeback.” St. Louis Post Dispatch

“Featuring archival film and photographs, breathtaking original footage, evocative animated sequences, and a slate of interviews with a diverse array of characters—from scientists to ranchers, animal rights activists to state governors—FACING THE STORM paints a portrait of the issue that’s as broad and subtly shaded as the Great Plains themselves.” Missourian

“**** 1/2. Doug Hawes-Davis’ documentary traces the long and tumultuous history of the American bison over a 10,000-year stretch. Admittedly, the last 200-year period was the most perilous for the species, when it was the target of reckless over-hunting by the white settlers who took over the continent. It was only through an unprecedented push for conservation that the American bison survived, though it remains at the center of a seemingly endless tug-of-war between environmentalists, developers, native tribes and sports hunters. The film is rich with beautiful cinematography that captures the species in the wild, and it also offers an impressive collection of rare photographs and film footage that shows the near-fatal decline of the bison and its escape from extinction. Hawes-Davis’ film serves as a wonderful introduction to anyone who is unfamiliar with this aspect of the American ecosystem and with the harsh history of late 19th and early 20th century United States.”  Film Threat

“You might think a 78 minute film would be more than you’ll ever need to know about the buffalo. If that’s the case, FACING THE STORM will surprise you. The film is part nature documentary, part history lesson and part an affectionate appreciation of the American bison. It’s hard to say which is more impressive: the newly filmed footage of buffalo, offering insight into their behavior and giving a fair example of their majesty, or the well-selected archive footage that pulls the film just short of connecting to the old west, when the creatures were nearly wiped out. This is an unexpectedly passionate film about animals and nature and their precarious state in the modern world.” St. Louis Beacon

“Thoughtful and thought-provoking, the film’s look at North America’s history and future serves as a poignant reminder that civilizations are at their best when the land and its people live in mindful accord.” Riverfront Times

“An unflinching overview of the long and complex history of interaction between humans and bison. FACING THE STORM prompts important questions: Was it fear, greed, stupidity or all of the above that drove the primarily white European hunters to exterminate the vast oceans of American bison? How much of the same elements prevent us from allowing free-roaming herds of bison to thrive today throughout the vast Great Plains? The film is an honest, unflattering portrait of a nations continuing unabated, unchecked hunger for more, even when faced with less. Order a copy of the film today, but only if youre prepared to rethink what you assumed you knew about American bison, and in a larger sense, about America, where we’ve been as a people and where we’re headed. The answers may shock you.” Big Sky Journal

“Beautifully documented… both historical documentary and wildlife film, FACING THE STORM may be the most comprehensively-concise examination of how and why we managed to nearly eradicate 30 million animals from the Great Plains in less than 50 years, and what’s being done today to ensure their survival.” Missoula Independent  

“Directed by national Emmy-nominee Doug Hawes-Davis, the film explores efforts to protect and restore bison herds and details the complex relationship between the Plains Indians and the animal. It also recounts the near destruction of the species from an estimated 30 million in the mid-19th century to fewer than 300 by the late 19th century.” Great Falls Tribune


Main credits

Hawes-Davis, Doug (film director)
Hawes-Davis, Doug (film producer)
Hawes-Davis, Doug (director of photography)
Hawes-Davis, Doug (editor of moving image work)
Pastore, Rita E. (film producer)
Carr, Drury Gunn (director of photography)
Carr, Drury Gunn (editor of moving image work)
Furrow, Ken (director of photography)

Other credits

Camera and sound, Drury Gunn Carr, Ken Furrow, Doug Hawes-Davis; editors, Greg Snider, Drury Gunn Carr, Doug Hawes-Davis; original score, Mike Grigoni, Ned Mudd, Ivan Rosenberg.


; "Facing The Storm"; Docuseek; bison; American West; North America; Great Plains; American History; Native Americans; manifest destiny; mammal; buffalo; Yellowstone; national park; conservation; spirituality; ecology; Kiowa; Oklahoma; ovid_ca,doc,env; history; science; religion