How indigenous talent, including star Zahn McClarnon, teamed with George R.R. Martin and Robert Redford to adapt Tony Hillerman’s best-selling series — and potential franchise — at last.
Nine miles outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the red-brown foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, is an old casino surrounded by curious artifacts. A crashed helicopter, a couple of 1970s-era police cars and some dome-shaped dwellings dot the landscape of sandstone bluffs and savannah grasslands. This land belongs to the Tesuque Pueblo people, a small tribe of just under 800 that moved here in 1694 after they waged an uprising against Spanish colonizers in the region.
Today the Tesuque land is home to a different kind of revolution, a cultural one. The tribe has converted their former casino into the first Native American-owned film and TV studio, Camel Rock Studios. And among the first productions to shoot there is perhaps the most ambitious Native-led TV show ever made, the new AMC drama Dark Winds, which is based on the best-selling Tony Hillerman mystery novels that feature a pair of Navajo tribal police detectives.