The Rider: Lakota cowboy stars in critically-acclaimed film about his own life

You might wonder how a Lakota cowboy from South Dakota meets a filmmaker from China to create what has become one of the most critically-acclaimed independent dramas of the year.

That happened in April 2015 when Brady Jandreau met Chloe Zhao on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Now, 'The Rider' is hitting the big screen, Friday night.

"Training horses, raising them, selling them, riding them, raising cattle. It's all I know," Brady Jandreau said.

Jandreau's life changed when he met movie writer/director Chloe Zhao.

"She felt like the agricultural and western lifestyle wasn't captured in the first film the way she wanted to. She made another one about Native American cowboys and middle America," Brady Jandreau said.

Jandreau was just the guy who met Zhao's vision.

"I'm a third generation bull rider on both sides. Bull riders as well, rodeo," Jandreau said.

But one year later, movie plans were put on hold when Jandreau suffered a head injury during a ride.

"I got swung under my horse and she stepped on my head," Jandreau said. "It was 3.25 inches in length, an inch wide, inch deep, in the shape of a horse hoof. It was contaminated, had manure, sand and everything in there."

As portrayed in the film, Jandreau tells us, while recovering from the injury he hit a crossroad.

"Went flat broke, needed to make money so I went back to the one thing I knew how to do and that's train horses," he said. "(Zhao) said you're risking your life and I said I don't feel alive if I'm not able to ride. She said I think we have a movie here."

'The Rider' has already earned top honors in film festivals all over the world.

"I was proud to portray my part of the world. Hope I did a good portrayal of it. It leaves a lot of room. You don't necessarily have to be native american, cowboy or South Dakotan to appreciate the film. It leaves enough room for everyone to take home what they need."