Wooly Boys, Badlands Girl, move over. Sanctified,  full-length feature film could be shot in Billings County next spring. Those first two films generated considerable interest in Western North Dakota, the Badlands and Medora.  More attention seems to be headed that way.

The Pg-13 Western, set in 1889 is called “Sanctified” – In the Badlands Only the Dead are Blameless.”


Bielinski summarizes the movie like this:

“In the wilds of the North Dakota Badlands a mortally wounded Outlaw is rescued from the brink death by a Catholic Nun and nursed back to health. The two unlikely allies rely on each other for survival as they both seek to atone for their pasts. Faced with marauding bandits, a sociopathic gang boss, and the extremes of the wilderness, Weston and Sister Hilde are forced to work together or perish in the dust.”

From Square Butte, a blaze orange sunset and cold blue snow, badlands and sentinel butte on the horizon.

It’s cold out here, but it won’t be when the movie is shot somewhere out there. This is from Square Butte with Sentinel Butte on the horizon to the right. They are two of the highest points in the Badlands.

Location Scouting

We’ve been honored with the opportunity to work with Daniel Bielinski to find suitable locations for the period piece.  It’s given us more reason to explore the backroads of Billings, Golden Valley, Stark, and Slope Counties.  Beaver moon

The work of producing a full-length feature film such as Sanctified requires being centrally located near one community with access to the back areas for a crew of 40 or more people and their gear. 

scoria road up a badlands hill

The roads in the Badlands are not built for speed nor for comfort.

Bielinski has chosen to be centrally located in Billings County and Medora. He plans to showcase the rugged beauty of the Badlands, the forested areas along the Little Missouri River and a third element – an abandoned school or church building.

Southern Stark County has one old abandoned school building complete with a bell in the belfry.



(That’s been a tough item to find since most abandoned church or school buildings in and around Billings County are gone, or have been moved.)




Daniel Bielinski

Daniel Bielinski

Bielinski has not made final choices on locations or details for Sanctified. He’s courting investors to join the effort.  He’s put together his production team of good hardy stock; trail bosses who know what it takes to move down the trail to market — a wagon-load of talent. Like a cattle drive, they know what they’re doing: Canticle Productions is Bielinski’s company and riding with him are Headwaters Entertainment, Nickolaus Swedlund, Matt Roy,  and Tim Saxhaug. 

As the head drover, we’ve found him to be a gentle-spirited, good-hearted man with great vision. He is a talented and accomplished artist.  Not only is he the Director of Theater at the University of Mary in Bismarck, but he is also active as an actor, writer, and producer. He co-starred on HBO’s “The Leftovers.” His short films, “The Good Father” and “You Beautiful Crazy Blind Cripple” have picked up numerous awards on the film festival circuit. He stars in the upcoming feature film, “Nina of the Woods” (IMDb: a meditative, avant-garde feature-length drama, exploring themes of faith, memory, and the malleable nature of reality.”) Bielinski’s most recent film is “The Badlands Girl”, a short western film shot in the ND Badlands.

What’s next

Badlands trees and landscape

Somewhere out there, a movie could be filmed.

They’re still looking for the right region of Badlands bluffs, buttes, hills that are accessible to a production crew and their trucks.  He’s familiar with the region since Badlands Girl was shot at the Logging Camp Ranch near the burning coal vein west of Amidon. So, he has an image in mind and is shopping around for accessible private property with the beauty of the Badlands.

Once investors are lined up comes pre-production work.  If all goes well, it will be shot in May with a unique plan for release that could include a theater near you.

Follow Beautiful Badlands ND to stay up to date on the progress of the movie Sanctified.  Just tell us where to send the notices.  The subscription box is in the upper right corner.

If you’re looking for entertainment, activities, and events this holiday season. Here is a free resource of links that will tell you what is happening and where.