After Josey indicates that basically he's not going to kill the old man Lone continues to tell his personal story as a Cherokee which has mostly involved one defeat after another over the years. George is incredible in Lone's little monologue as he never leaves it on a single note. George actually begins as though the whole thing is one big joke over the years as he describes being kicked from one place to another. When he refers to the death of his family from the trail of tears though there is a brief though palatable sorrow and hatred in his voice just for that moment. He continues on his life of misfortune and tells Josey of how it was that he found himself clothed in the way he was, which was basically for a show for the government. George brings just a quiet exasperation as he tells the odd story of the patronizing secretary of the interior, though he throws in just a bit of sarcastic show of pride when reciting the words of the man towards Lone, and his fellow natives who had come to Washington. Then there seems just a hint of actual perseverance and determination as he informs Josey that he chose to wage war on the Union due to the meeting, only to artfully end on one more comic note in his reaction as he sees Josey has fallen asleep from his story.
That's simply George's introductory scene, but it sets well what he'll bring to the film with his presence. That monologue could have been just a simple depressing story, but it's fantastic just how much character George gives just through that one monologue. He's great in his very next scene as he shows such an attempt at an honest pride when he's believed he's snuck up on Josey, unfortunately for him someone else sneaks up on him, and George's "aw shucks" reaction is just hilarious. Thankfully for the film Lone decides to go along with Josey on his adventure to escape to Mexico, and becomes his sidekick for the trip. George is great in every scene in which he appears as Wales's sidekick as well as almost his promoter of sorts. George is wonderful the way he enliven every scene just in his appearance as interacts so astutely with Eastwood's performance. In one way being the far more eager fellow than the technically rather somber Wales, and George is terrific the way he shows that old Lone Watie gets such a thrill out of Josey apply his trade so to speak. I particularly love one sequence in which he basically narrates Josey's preparation in front of a group of thugs, and George brings so much humor, astonishment and even some intensity as Lone calls out Josey's moves.
Although George is marvelous at being a secondary hero for the film, George does not leave it there and creates a very interesting character of Lone Waite past simply being a fun fellow adventurer, although he certainly is that. George's is quite fascinating in the way once he goes on the adventure with Wales he seems to find himself as as a proper Cherokee again. What's so splendid is the way George does not do the more typical Indian cliches of mysteriously knowing the way of the land in the way what animals mean or how to properly track someone. George takes the mystery out of it, but in a memorable way. George plays it as a given that a native American should be able to do all these things, but he says it in such a delightful down to earth fashion as though he's aware of any legends treating them simply as a fact that he needs to live up to. George is very endearing as he shows this as the way Lone is once again accepting who he should be, and tries to live up to his causes of old. The way George slowly renews the confidence of the old man is brilliantly done. The film does not specifically stop for him, after all he is not even the central character, and the film is one almost in constant movement, but George manages to naturally as well powerfully transition his character from basically a worn out old husk of a man, to once again a life filled warrior. This is a great performance by Chief Dan George as he makes so much out of the role that in lesser hand could have been maybe just too goofy, or simply too sad. George manages to balance both out flawlessly giving both a very funny and rather moving portrait of this Cherokee who endeavors to persevere.