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The River’s Divide: A Different Kind of Hunting Movie

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June 07, 2013

The River’s Divide: A Different Kind of Hunting Movie

By Scott Bestul

I’ll go ahead and date myself: When I was a kid my dad would take me to the local movie theater to watch Fred Bear’s films. Those movies—which were of an epic quality and went far beyond the mere killing of game—fueled the dreams of a budding bowhunter. Bear was larger than life in so many ways, and his presence on the big screen played a huge role in cementing his reputation. 
Donnie Vincent is no Fred Bear and doesn’t claim to be. But he is trying to offer the same sort of epic, aspirational movie-going experience with The River’s Divide, a 46-minute film now headlining the Full Draw Film Tour, a series of feature-length bowhunting films showing in theaters across the West this summer. The River’s Divide traces Vincent’s multi-year quest for a tremendous whitetail he nicknamed “Steve.” You can view the film’s trailer here.

If you’re a fan of today’s outdoor television and video—which so often plays like a highlight reel of kill shots—"The River’s Divide" will likely disappoint you. But if you appreciate a film that takes some time to tell a story, you’ll like this movie. Beautifully filmed in the Badlands of western North Dakota, Vincent’s project strikes a nice balance between his gritty, determined, pursuit of one buck, and his obvious appreciation for the striking backdrop of the Badlands and the moments of beauty and sometimes crushing disappointment known to all bowhunters. It’s a film with a soul, something largely missing from today’s TV/video/film coverage of blood sport.

No project is perfect. There are moments when I wanted the film to slow down and elaborate, and others when I wanted to fast-forward through points I felt had already been made. But these are minor beefs. As a whole, this movie is a wonderful project, and I look forward to seeing other efforts from Vincent (who’s also filmed caribou, sheep, and grizzly hunts, with more in the works). I chatted briefly with Vincent about how his film was so different from others of the genre. “Well I have to admit that when we were prepping for this project, we studied The Shawshank Redemption a whole lot more than we watched The Bone Collector,” he laughed. That much is obvious, and if other films in the Full Draw Film Tour are similarly made, I hope they make a swing through the Midwest.

Comments (5)

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from Steve Ashley wrote 44 weeks 6 days ago

I met Donnie a few months ago. He called me to score a couple of animals (including "Steve") for the Pope & Young record book.

I'm here to tell you this guy is the real deal!

I've had a chance to preview a bit of the movie when he was editing it, and I would have to say that YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS IT. This is what real hunting video SHOULD BE! Since seeing Donnie's work I can no longer watch any of the current hunting videos/movies in the same light.

Good luck Donnie - keep up the outstanding creativity.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from tleichty1989 wrote 44 weeks 5 days ago

Nothing beats outdoor videos (hunting, fishing etc.) The best part about them is how they make you feel before the hunt. Listening to Ted Nugent Fred Bear before the hunt gets you psyched out of your mind. Watching someone snag a huge fish out of the Lake your about to set out onto makes your heart crave the cool air and the mist on your face. City folk will never experience this they will never feel what we feel in our blood. I feel bad for the hippies

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wisc14 wrote 44 weeks 4 days ago

the end of the teaser was lame...he was trying way to hard to be a badass.

i would also like to know more about this ranch. is it fenced in? obviously anyone can't hunt there. it would be more impressive to me if he were hunting on public land

tleichty: i will tell you one thing that beats outdoor videos: actually being in the outdoors hunting and fishing

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 44 weeks 3 days ago

I am a firm believer that the outdoors shows of today must change or we will lose hunters. I hope this is different.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from fishinginthedark1 wrote 43 weeks 4 days ago

It seems to me Donnie's biggest fan is Donnie. I personally think his crossbow pictures for Mission archery paint the true picture of who and what he is.....a joke.

Also, hunting with an outfitter in ND after a deer that is trapped in a small space by the river is not a feat for the ages. It's actually laughable that it took him so long to shoot this deer.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

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from Steve Ashley wrote 44 weeks 6 days ago

I met Donnie a few months ago. He called me to score a couple of animals (including "Steve") for the Pope & Young record book.

I'm here to tell you this guy is the real deal!

I've had a chance to preview a bit of the movie when he was editing it, and I would have to say that YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS IT. This is what real hunting video SHOULD BE! Since seeing Donnie's work I can no longer watch any of the current hunting videos/movies in the same light.

Good luck Donnie - keep up the outstanding creativity.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 44 weeks 3 days ago

I am a firm believer that the outdoors shows of today must change or we will lose hunters. I hope this is different.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tleichty1989 wrote 44 weeks 5 days ago

Nothing beats outdoor videos (hunting, fishing etc.) The best part about them is how they make you feel before the hunt. Listening to Ted Nugent Fred Bear before the hunt gets you psyched out of your mind. Watching someone snag a huge fish out of the Lake your about to set out onto makes your heart crave the cool air and the mist on your face. City folk will never experience this they will never feel what we feel in our blood. I feel bad for the hippies

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fishinginthedark1 wrote 43 weeks 4 days ago

It seems to me Donnie's biggest fan is Donnie. I personally think his crossbow pictures for Mission archery paint the true picture of who and what he is.....a joke.

Also, hunting with an outfitter in ND after a deer that is trapped in a small space by the river is not a feat for the ages. It's actually laughable that it took him so long to shoot this deer.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from wisc14 wrote 44 weeks 4 days ago

the end of the teaser was lame...he was trying way to hard to be a badass.

i would also like to know more about this ranch. is it fenced in? obviously anyone can't hunt there. it would be more impressive to me if he were hunting on public land

tleichty: i will tell you one thing that beats outdoor videos: actually being in the outdoors hunting and fishing

-2 Good Comment? | | Report

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