'Incident at Oglala' is a film based upon real events. This film concerns itself with the shooting deaths of two FBI agents within the jurisdiction of a Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Narrated by Robert Redford, this documentary delves into the trial of American Indian activist Leonard Peltier, who was the only suspect convicted of the murder the two agents.
The movie opens in the summer of 1975, where FBI agents Coler and Williams were on site at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, tracking the whereabouts of a suspect wanted for a local robbery. Subsequently, a dispute leads to an incident where the two agents die in a shootout on the reservation. Three men on the reservation were later taken into custody and tried for the crime. Two of the three were acquitted and released, but the third man -- Leonard Peltier was convicted of murder and sentenced to multiple life terms in prison where he serves to this day. The circumstances surrounding the trial and conviction of Leonard Peltier remain a matter of great controversy. This includes the potential illegality of the extradition of Peltier from Canada.
Serious doubts in the minds of many experts regarding Peltier's guilt have come up over the years. Most, concern the fairness of his trial, but much skepticism of the governments case is based on witness testimony that was later recanted. Although several appeals have been filed on his behalf, none have resulted in any court rulings in his favor. The balance of the film is dedicated to recounting the details and events that led to the deaths of the FBI agents with an eye toward raising reasonable doubt over the government's case. The film shows us why Leonard Peltier continues to this day to have supporters (including Nelson Mandela,and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights)that believe that Peltier was unfairly convicted.