Film Tells Saga of South Dakota's Sue

Aug 14, 2014

In the summer of 1990, paleontologist Peter Larson and his team from the Black Hills Institute in Hill City unearthed a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton in western South Dakota near Faith. It was the largest, most complete T-Rex ever found. They nicknamed the dinosaur Sue, after Sue Hendrickson who first discovered the bones.

Peter Larson and Sue Hendrickson with Sue the T-Rex
Credit Black Hills Institute of Geological Research

Two years later, the institute was raided by federal agents and the National Guard and Sue was hauled away from Hill City and eventually auctioned off to the highest bidder. In a court case that followed the battle over Sue, Peter Larson was sentenced to two years in prison.

Director Todd Miller tells the story in the film Dinosaur 13. It’s based on the book Rex Appeal  by Larson and his former wife Kristin Donnan-Standard. Dinosaur 13 opens in theaters across South Dakota and nationwide on Friday. Peter Larson joined Dakota Midday and discussed the film.