The story, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown is a fully explained account of the massacres of the American Indians in the late 1800s ending at the Battle of Wounded Knee. Brown exhumes a story of torture and atrocity that is actually not well known in American history. The way in which many of the American Indians were killed is best told in a quote from the book by Standing Bear of the Poncas, "When people want to slaughter cattle they drive them along until they get them to a corral, and then they slaughter them. So it was with us".

In this story, the fact is that there is not so much a main character, moreso a main event that occurs throughout the whole story, and is linked through a chain of events. That is not to say there are no main characters; in this epic of what could be called good versus evil, there are many key players who enhance the topic of the story. These characters would be some of the Indian Chiefs, such as Geronimo, Victorio, Cochise, Roman Nose, Wolf Chief, Standing Bear, and Two Moon, or some of the opposing soldier commanders, such as General Carleton, General Miles, James Steele, all of which played a large part in this story of an ongoing battle between the Native Americans and the White Soldiers.

There are no real set supporting characters to this novel either. The theme is set; there are just people that play larger roles, however there are no "lead and supporting actors". The main plot would be the struggle between the Native Americans and the soldiers for the land. The "subplot" as one could call it, is the different battles and certain fights between the two sides, such as the Battle of the Hundred Slain, the Battle of the Little Bighorn, and the infamous Massacre at Sand Creek. These could compare to the "supporting character" of a story.

The theme of the book, Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee attempts to tell the story of the American West in the eyes of the American Indians.