Kelly+Yamamoto Productions | Kelly+Yamamoto Productions | Thousand Pieces of Gold
Rosalind Chao and Chris Cooper star in this true story of a poor Chinese woman sold into slavery by her father and brought to America to be a prostitute in a gold rush town. An unlikely love story develops when a saloonkeeper wins her in a poker game and frees her.
kelly, yamamoto, film, thousand pieces of gold, narrative, feature, sundance, Rosalind Chao, Chris Cooper, slave, gold rush, california, idaho, michael paul chan, dennis dun, Ruthanne Lum McCunn, Polly Bemis, old west, cowboy, cowgirl, chinese
portfolio_page-template-default,single,single-portfolio_page,postid-197,ajax_leftright,page_not_loaded,,select-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,select-theme-ver-2.4.1,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.11.2,vc_responsive

Thousand Pieces of Gold

©1991 — 105 minutes


Set in a mining town in the 1880s, Thousand Pieces of Gold was developed by the Sundance Institute and premiered at the San Francisco International Film Festival in 1990. It won immediate acclaim for its portrayal of the real-life story of Lalu (Rosalind Chao), a young Chinese woman whose desperately poor parents sell her into slavery. She is trafficked to a nefarious saloonkeeper in Idaho’s gold country. Eventually Charlie, a man of different ilk, played by Chris Cooper, wins her in a poker game and slowly gains her trust. 


Digital Restoration

A dazzling new 4K restoration of Thousand Pieces of Gold will be unveiled March 26, 2019, at the Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, NY.


• Best Feature of the Year,
National Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City
• Silver Wave Award,
Fort Lauderdale Film Festival
• Best Actress, Rosalind Chao,
Festival de Cinéma Jeune, Paris

Key Credits

Writer, Director, Producer: Nancy Kelly
Editor, Producer: Kenji Yamamoto
Line Producer: Sarah Green
Director of Photography: Bobby Bukowski
Production Designer: Dan Bishop

Primary Funders

• Maverick Films International
• Corporation for Public Broadcasting