'Wounded Knee' comes to HBO

'Wounded Knee' comes to HBO

Based on Dee Brown's 1971 best-selling and influential book, "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" (9 p.m., HBO) examines the end game in the wars between Western Indian tribes and the U.S. government between the defeat of Gen. Custer at Little Big Horn in 1876 and the last of the Indian battles in 1890.

A TV epic of both grand historical sweep and remarkably intimate focus, "Wounded Knee" shows how the efforts of benevolent white Americans to educate, assimilate and Christianize Indians was as damaging as military action.

Aidan Quinn stars as Sen. Henry Dawes, who works tirelessly to create a fair policy toward the tribes. His protege, Charles Eastman (Adam Beach), is a Dartmouth-educated Sioux. It is through his story that we learn how devastating it can be to lose one's name, language, culture and people.

A notable cast includes August Schellenberg as Chief Sitting Bull and Colm Feore as Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman. And who says Fred Thompson isn't measuring the drapery in the White House? Look for the "Law & Order" star in a cameo as Ulysses S. Grant.

Gary Sinise ("CSI: New York") and Joe Mantegna ("The Simpsons Movie") return to co-host the 2007 National Memorial Day Concert (8 p.m., PBS). Scheduled performers and presenters include Natalie Cole, Josh Turner, Dianne Wiest, Jimmy Smits and the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of maestro Erich Kunzel.

NASCAR (5 p.m., Fox) action. "60 Minutes" (7 p.m., CBS) will devote an hour to the 1st Battalion of the 133rd Infantry of the Iowa National Guard serving in Iraq. Scheduled on "Dateline" (7 p.m., NBC): orphaned Russian twins. Kitty (Calista Flockhart) tries to reconcile with her mother (Sally Field) on the pilot episode of "Brothers and Sisters" (10 p.m., ABC, r, TV-14).

Two social outcasts (Winona Ryder and Christian Slater) take on the pecking order of Westerburg High in the influential 1989 teen comedy "Heathers" (8 p.m., Lifetime Movie Network). This dark comedy practically invented the hyper-articulate, pop-savvy teen character and paved the way for "Buffy" and legions of imitators. And it features Shannen Doherty, to boot.

On two episodes of "Cold Case" (CBS, r, TV-14, V), a suicide revisited (8 p.m.), a father's promise (9 p.m.) ... Martian Manhunter returns on "Smallville" (8 p.m., r, CW, TV-PG) ... Gabrielle's marriage unravels on "Desperate Housewives" (9 p.m., ABC, r, TV-14) ... All heck breaks out on "Supernatural" (9 p.m., r, CW, TV-14, L, V) ... A juvenile vanishes from a house of detention on "Without a Trace" (10 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14, V) ... Leslie Caron guest-stars on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (10 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).

Kevin McDonough, a syndicated columnist who lives in Narrowsburg, can be reached at kmcdonough@unitedmedia.com.

Also worth watching

If you and the kids have already seen all the new big-screen threequels ("Spider-Man 3," "Shrek the Third" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"), enjoy an afternoon at home with some family entertainment of decades past.

TCM kicks off the family-friendly fare at noon with "Courage of Lassie." The 1946 drama stars Elizabeth Taylor as a girl who tries to rehabilitate the famous collie after his return from combat service during World War II. The adventure quota revs up at 2 p.m. with "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." James Mason plays Capt. Nemo in a 1954 Disney film co-starring Kirk Douglas and Peter Lorre and featuring Oscar-winning special effects. Oscar-nominated special effects follow at 4 p.m. in "The Absent-Minded Professor." The 1961 Disney comedy introduced the world to flubber and gave "My Three Sons" star Fred MacMurray a big-screen hit.

Dennis Sprick