Photography: HBO/Photofest, CBS/Photofest, Universal Pictures/Photofest

We round up some of Adam Beach’s most notable film and TV credits.

Adam Beach’s screen work in the last 17 years has included the epic 2007 HBO film Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, which recounted Native Americans’ experiences and tragedies in the West during the late 19th century. The previous year he’d starred in Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers, in which he played Ira Hayes, one of the six Iwo Jima flag-raisers immortalized in a universally recognized photograph. On lighter notes, he’s yukked it up and shown his physical prowess in 2011’s Cowboys & Aliens with Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, in DC’s colorful 2016 flick Suicide Squad, and in the 2015 western Diablo, starring Scott Eastwood and directed by Lawrence Roeck.

Beach shared the screen with the late Bill Paxton in Big Love’s fourth season as an Indian casino manager. And he became well-known to network TV watchers as Chester Lake in 2007 and 2008 episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Allow us to recommend some of Beach’s more recent performances that you can find online or via your preferred rental service.

BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE (2007)

HBO’s award-winning movie, adapted from Dee Brown’s acclaimed book of the same name, dramatizes the conflict-marred history of Native Americans in the American West. Beach’s character serves as both a guide to past events and a touchstone for the interwoven narratives, and his acting rises to the challenge of the script. He plays Charles Eastman, the mixed-race Sioux doctor who struggles with identity and the outward pressure for assimilation. It’s a heartrending, subtle performance that should have won him the Golden Globe for which he was nominated. Stream it on Amazon Video, HBO Now, and HBO Go.

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT (Season 9, 2007 – 08)

Beach explained the significance of his character on the NBC drama back in 2013: “When non-Native actors play Native roles, Hollywood is telling the world that we’re not good enough to star as our own people. What was so amazing about my role as a Mohawk on [SVU] was that the series creator Dick Wolf acknowledged that New York City was constructed by a lot of Mohawk iron workers, so why not bring in a truthful character who represents that history and is also a well-respected detective.” Season 9 is available on DVD or as a digital purchase on Amazon Video or iTunes.

COMANCHE MOON (2008)

This three-part CBS miniseries, co-written by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, served as a worthy prequel to the iconic Lonesome Dove. Beach shows up in the pivotal role of Blue Duck, the vengeful son of marauding Comanche leader Buffalo Hump (Wes Studi). Available on DVD or for online rental and purchase from Amazon Video or iTunes.

BIG LOVE (Season 4, 2010)

Beach had a recurring role as Tommy Flute, the son of Jerry Flute (Robert Beltran), who partnered with lead character Bill Henrickson (Paxton) in an Indian casino venture. Relations were shaky between partners, which made for some complex TV drama. There were also budding romantic feelings between Beach’s character and Henrickson’s wife Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn). Available for streaming on Amazon Video, HBO Go, and HBO Now.

COWBOYS & ALIENS (2011)

Lighter and fluffier than Beach’s other recent projects, Cowboys & Aliens combined sci-fi with western tropes. Beach, who plays Nat Colorado, has an interesting take on the popcorn flick: “It shows the Indian cowboy, and that’s a world most westerns haven’t ventured into. The Indian cowboys in the 1800s were everything from cattle ranchers to bootleggers.” Available on DVD or for online rental and purchase from Amazon Video or iTunes.


Read our cover story on Adam Beach in the May/June 2017 issue on newsstands now, and read our May 2011 cover story of Adam Beach here.

From the May/June 2017 issue.

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