At age 71, Chief Thunder lives in the Nevada desert with his young wife and small children in The Monument, a concrete and stone house he built and decorated with powerful forms and arches. His overwhelming sculptures, "spirits of the living," portray Indian heroes, family, and friends. He created the monument when a voice spoke in a dream, "You are the Big Eagle and the Big Eagle shall return to his nest." His artistry is the testament of a great American folk artist.The film captures the tragedy of his life, his painful isolation, the beauty of his work, and his creative process. Its highlight is a remarkable sequence in which Chief Thunder sculpts a complete piece on camera. Chief Rolling Mountain Thunder was honored as "The Artist of the Year" by the state of Nevada in 1983.
The Monument of Chief Rolling Mountain Thunder is part of the "Visions of Paradise" series on contemporary folk artists directed and produced by Irving Saraf and Allie Light. The other four films in the series are: Possum Trot: The Art of Calvin Black, Hundred and Two Mature: The Art of Harry Lieberman, Grandma's Bottle Village: The Art of Tressa Prisbrey, and Angel That Stands By Me: TMinnie Evans' Paintings. You can find information about them at www.lightsaraffilms.com. They are video streaming on Folkstreams.net.