The Stolen Valley: Review

The Stolen Valley: Review

In the American tradition, you have to take what you can, while you can to have a better life — even if it means destroying the lives of others. The harsh reality of American life is dog eat dog with no concern for others. However, the people you may victimize might bite back one day and you better be prepared for the consequences. The Stolen Valley examines what it really means to be an American and fight for your home and family, while returning a bit of dignity to yourself — especially as a woman living in a world full of angry men.

Written and directed by Jesse Edwards, in his feature film debut, The Stolen Valley follows Lupe, played by Briza Covarrubias (Gift of Fear, The Son Rises) a Mexican-Navajo mechanic who lives paycheck to paycheck to support her family. But when her mother goes into a coma, she must return to her family’s homeland to confront the father Carl, played by Micah Fitzgerald (Amityville Uprising, Stateside) in a bathing-in-the-river-of-ham performance, she has never met, so she can ask for money for her mother’s experimental treatments.

Along the way, she gets wrapped up in Maddy Monroe, played by Allee Sutton Hethcoat (Triumph, The Perfect Race) a down-on-her-luck bull rider who’s on the run from mobsters — thanks to an overdue payment. The pair’s reluctant team up turns into a friendship that neither of them saw coming.



Although The Stolen Valley is a standard thriller with some style and flair to it, the film has something on its mind that makes the genre exercise worth watching. It comments on the ideas of American Exceptionalism and questions the validity of ownership when it comes to native land for the Navajo People. It’s almost pointed in that critique, especially taking place during Fourth of July weekend, which is a time of celebration for most, but a dark reminder of what was stolen for others.

The movie certainly has the voice and thoughts surrounding its overall theme, but The Stolen Valley itself is a bit slack with its 105-minute runtime. Its themes could’ve been served better if it were tighter and more engaging, while the destination is sharp, its journey is slow to get there. 

However, The Stolen Valley is smart in the sense that it keeps its storytelling authentic with keen dialogue that bounces back and forth in English, Spanish, and Diné Bizaad, the Navajo language. It goes a long way in placing these characters, story, and world for an audience, while showing the beauty of a forgotten and stolen culture.


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Rudie Obias lives in Brooklyn, New York. He’s a writer and editor who is interested in cinema, pop culture, music, NBA basketball, science fiction, and web culture. His work can be found at IGN, Fandom, TV Guide, Metacritic, Yahoo!, Battleship Pretension, Mashable, Mental Floss, and of course, BRWC.

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