The Dark Wind (1991 film)

The Dark Wind is a 1991 American mystery drama film based on The Dark Wind by Tony Hillerman, one of a series of mysteries set against contemporary Navajo life in the Southwest. It stars Lou Diamond Phillips as Jim Chee and Fred Ward as Joe Leaphorn.

The Dark Wind
Theatrical release poster
Directed byErrol Morris
Written byEric Bergren
Neal Jimenez
Produced byRobert Redford
Patrick Markey
StarringLou Diamond Phillips
Fred Ward
John Karlen
Gary Farmer
CinematographyStefan Czapsky
Edited byFreeman Davies
Susan Crutcher
Music byMichel Colombier
Distributed bySeven Arts
(through New Line Cinema)
Release date
  • May 15, 1992 (1992-05-15) (UK)
Running time
111 minutes
CountryUnited States


As Officer Jim Chee (Lou Diamond Phillips) watches a windmill, trying to catch the vandal repeatedly sabotaging it, a small plane crashes nearby. Thus begins a tangled story involving not only the vandalism and the crash, but also murder, drug smuggling, and burglary. Officer Chee is suspected by the FBI when drugs known to have been on the plane are missing.



It was directed by Errol Morris, a documentary film-maker making his dramatic feature debut. Robert Redford was executive producer, hoping for a series of films, but he was unhappy with the production and director. In an article on the successful adaptation of Skinwalkers in 2002, Redford said of The Dark Wind, "That was a false start. It was miscast. It was ill-conceived and I didn't think it was the right beginning for the series. It wasn't distributed."[1]

Director Errol Morris did not finish the film due to "artistic differences" with Redford.


  1. ^ King, Susan (November 17, 2002). "The bestseller they couldn't sell". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 28, 2015.

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