Into the West: The Mini-Series (Blu-ray Review)


The Series
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements


A Native American family and a White family's lives are intertwined in this mini-series about the settling of the American west from executive producer Steven Spielberg.

Into the West Blu-ray (ViaVision)Into the West is a six-part mini-series from TBS, executive produced by Steven Spielberg. The story traces the story of two “American” families – one White and one Lakota — from the pre- to post-Civil War West. One, the White family, the Wheelers, who have a long tradition of being wheelwrights and whose patriarch marries a beautiful Lakota woman, tying the two families together inextricably through the decades. The series touches on a few milestones in American history, such as the Pony Express, the building of railroads, the ‘Bleeding Kansas’ outbreaks of pro- and anti- slavery violence, the Wounded Knee massacre, and more.

Beyond the broad strokes of history, Into the West does an excellent job of homing in on the individual characters and allowing us to care about their lives, loves, and losses. The struggles of the Lakota and other tribes to maintain their identity and traditions in the face of overwhelming colonialism is handled sincerely and with a cast of real indigenous actors.

The visual aesthetic of the show is one that well utilizes its television budget with wide open spaces, mountainous regions, and beautiful visuals of the open plains. This and the powerful cast featuring Beau Bridges, Graham Greene, Matthew Modine and Keri Russell help to overcome the at times overly sentimental screenplay.

The Video

Into the West was shot on Super 35 with some scenes shot on Super 16 using various Panavision Panafelx and Arri cameras. This Blu-ray set arrives in a 1.78:1 AVC 1080p encodement from ViaVision. The detail is a bit on the soft side and there are some scenes that show some hints of edge enhancement with a little bit of ringing around the edge. Dark scenes, especially when they are set around fires, show some horrendous banding in the shadows. Grain is a bit noisy there is a little bit of posterization and macroblocking at times as well.

The Audio

English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 stere soundtracks are included. I used the 5.1 as my reference for this review and it was a very average, television-type mix with the surrounds used mainly for low-level atmospherics and a bit of a boost in the low end through the LFE. While dialogue was clear and effects across the front had good imaging, there was an issue in episode two were there were two staticky pops or clicks, one in the right surround and one in the front/center. I could reproduce these several times by returning to the same spot to confirm it was on the disc and not my system.

The Supplements

Via Vision includes a small collection of archival behind-the-scenes and ‘making of’ featurettes all ported over from standard definition. The interviews with the cast and crew and look at the use of the Native American languages are interesting to watch.

  • The Cast of “Into the West” (SD; 00:24:29)
  • “The Communication Gap” – A Look at the Use of Native American Language (SD; 00:12:52)
  • The Making of “Into the West” (SD; 00:38:37)
  • “World on Fire” – Music Video (SD; 00:02:36)

The Final Assessment

A beautiful, epic miniseries of how the American West was colonized and became what we know it as today. Via Vision’s Blu-ray release, set across 4-discs, has some issues, but it still worth watching.

Into the West: The Mini-Series is out on Blu-ray in Australia 21 September 2022 from Via Vision Entertainment


  • Rating Certificate: AU: M (Moderate violence, moderate coarse language)
  • Studios & Distributors: DreamWorks Television | Voice Pictures | Via Vision Entertainment
  • Run Time: 552 Mins.
  • Street Date: 21 September 2022
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Secondary Audio: English LPCM 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English SDH

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A Native American family and a White family's lives are intertwined in this mini-series about the settling of the American west from executive producer Steven Spielberg.Into the West: The Mini-Series (Blu-ray Review)
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