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The film, like the book of the same name, the story of a Civil War-era United States Army lieutenant who travels to the American frontier to find a military post and eventually befriends a local Sioux tribe. The movie won seven Academy Awards.
Lt. John Dunbar is dubbed a hero after he accidentally leads Union troops to a victory during the Civil War. He requests a position on the western frontier, but finds it deserted. He soon finds out he is not alone, but meets a wolf he dubs "Two-socks" and a curious Indian tribe. Dunbar quickly makes friends with the tribe, and discovers a white woman who was raised by the Indians. He gradually earns the respect of these native people, and sheds his white-man's ways. Not long after, the frontier becomes the frontier no more, and as the US army advances on the plains, John must make a decision that will not only affect him, but also the lives of the natives he now calls his people.