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Stands With A Fist (real name: Christine Gunther) is the deuteragonist of the 1990 film Dances with Wolves, and a major character in its sequel The Holy Road. She is a white woman who was adopted by a Sioux tribe led by Ten Bears after she lost her family to a vicious Pawnee tribe. She then falls in love with Dances with Wolves and have three children in the sequel.

She was portrayed by Mary McDonnell as an adult, and Annie Costner as a child.


Dances with Wolves

She lived a happy childhood with her family and her best friend, Willie until a Pawnee tribe comes to her home. Her mother tells her and Willie to hide and the Pawnee kill both their fathers. Willie orders her to run and she flees the camp as the barbarians massacre her family and friends. She gets lost in the wilderness until she eventually gets adopted by a Sioux tribe led by Ten Bears and given the name "Stands With A Fist".

As she grows up, she marries a young Lakota, but he dies, leaving her devastated. The following morning, she tries to commit suicide and a U.S. Army lieutenant named John Dunbar comes by. She tries to flee in fear and she passes out. Dunbar carries her unconscious body to the Sioux camp and the children warn the village as they spot him. Dunbar tells the villagers that she's hurt and Wind In His Hair takes her body as he orders Dunbar to leave. The other warriors try to attack, but Kicking Bird holds them back.

The following morning, the Lakotas visit Fort Sedgewick and they and Dunbar learn to communicate with each other. Kicking Bird offers Stands With A Fist to act as a translator for Dunbar, but she claims that she doesn't remember it and flees the camp. She then reminisces her past and falls asleep in the marshes.

The next morning, she heads back to Kicking Bird's tepee and acts as a translator to Dunbar with broken English. She tells Dunbar that Kicking Bird is a holy man and they introduce each other's names. The next night, Dunbar notices a herd of buffalo and informs the village. They head out to hunt the next morning, only to find that the buffalo have been slaughtered by white hunters. However, they manage to find another herd and kill the hunters before they hunt the next morning. They manage to kill several buffalo and they celebrate that night.

After Dunbar is dropped back off at the fort, he decides to come back to the village. Two Socks follows him and they chase each other, while three warriors watch them. Dunbar heads to the village and tells Kicking Bird that white society will pass through their country. Dunbar realizes that a war party is assembled to fight their tribe and Stands With A Fist asks him why he wants to fight them, to which he replies that they are Sioux enemies. Stands With A Fist tells him that Kicking Bird wants him to stay behind and watch over his family, despite Dunbar telling them that he has also been a warrior and informs him that he is now given the name "Dances with Wolves" as well as teaching him how to say it in Lakota.

Stands With A Fist stays behind with Dunbar and she teaches him language lessons. Dunbar asks her how she got her name and she explains that she stood up to an abusive woman and no one bothered her after that. Dunbar asks her why she isn't married and she leaves. He then learns from Stone Calf about her husband's death and will continue mourning until he decides that she is ready to move on. She later realizes that Dunbar has returned to the fort and heads over there, but Dunbar returns and they kiss. They return to the village and make love. They learn that the Pawnee are going to attack the next day and Dunbar gives then guns for battle. The Pawnee attack the next day and the Sioux manage to defeat them, but not before Stone Calf gets killed.

Kicking Bird tells Stands With A Fist that her mourning is over and decides to arrange a wedding with Dances with Wolves. Kicking Bird sets up the wedding and they marry each other. Dunbar tells Kicking Bird that white settlers will overtake their land and Ten Bears decides to have the entire village migrate to their winter camps. The next day, Dunbar realizes that he left his journal at Fort Sedgewick, so he heads over to get it, only to discover the fort re-occupied and ends up getting captured. The soldiers decide to have him executed back at Fort Hayes and shoot Two Socks. The warriors witness it and they manage to kill the soldiers at the river. Dunbar frees himself and Smiles A Lot drops the journal into the river.

They arrive at the winter camp and Stands With A Fist embraces Dunbar. Dunbar tells the villagers that their tribe is doomed and he should part ways with Stands With A Fist, as the U.S. Army is pursuing them with intentions to seize control over them. The two of them leave and Wind In His Hair shouts that he is Dunbar's friend as the entire tribe leaves before the army arrives there with their Pawnee scouts.

An epilogue states that 13 years later, the last band of free Sioux were caught and were forced to surrendered to the U.S. Government.

The Holy Road

11 years have passed and she and Dances with Wolves have three children: a son named Snake In Hands and two daughters named Always Walking and Stays Quiet. They still live their Comanche lives and they survive a war against a tribe of Utes. However, serious confrontations with whites arise, as they are being pursued by a deadly band of white rangers and the titular railroad is being built across the plains.

Dances with Wolves convinces her to come with him and the children, but she refuses and decides to take care of the work behind with her infant daughter, Stays Quiet. The rangers arrive at the camp and slaughter much of the village. Stands With A Fist tries to escape with Stays Quiet on her pony, but the rangers spot her and she ends up falling off. The captain identifies her as Christine Gunther and they abduct her.

The rangers transport her to a city called Jacksboro, where she is reunited with her original family and is having trouble adapting to her new environment. She is often put in asylums and tries her best to protect her child. Dances with Wolves decides to rescue his wife with his children and they blend in by wearing white clothes. They eventually arrive at Jacksboro and manage to find her and they head back to the Comanche camp.

However, despite the Comanches going to Washington D.C. to convince the Great Father to have their tribes live in peace, they are still doomed. They are pursued by soldiers led by Bad Hand and Captain Bradley and they shoot some of the Comanches, including Dances with Wolves. Stands With A Fist are taken hostage and are then forced to live within white society.


  • In the books, she was adopted by Comanches. It was changed to Sioux in the film, due to the area the film is taking place.
  • She is inspired by Cynthia Ann Parker, a girl who was kidnapped by Comanches and re-captured by white soldiers.


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