In this strange western version of JAWS, Wild Bill Hickok hunts a white buffalo he has seen in a dream. Hickok moves through a variety of uniquely authentic western locations – dim, filthy, makeshift taverns; freezing, slaughterhouse-like frontier towns and beautifully desolate high country – before improbably teaming up with a young Crazy Horse to pursue the creature.
I have very vague memories of having seen this movie when I was quite a bit younger. If I remember correctly I was not thrilled by the movie then since I was expecting a shot-them-up western but it has received somewhat of a cult status by some people so I thought maybe I would appreciate it more now. Well the short answer to that is unfortunately no I did not really. Probably for different reasons but still I was not impressed by this movie.
The blurb calls it a “western version of JAWS”. That it is not. It is nowhere near the quality of JAWS in any aspect whether we are talking about script, acting or special effects. The western part of the movie is fairly okay as long as the white buffalo is not present. As soon as the white buffalo enters the scene it just becomes silly. The special effects is quite poor even for a 1977 movie.
The story is also somewhat lacking. Bill is having these very realistic dreams so he goes hunting for this white buffalo. Really? I could think of loads of reasons for why he would go hunting for a white buffalo that would be more credible than that. Crazy Horse’s part of the story and his reasons for going after the white buffalo is much more credible for instance.
The parts where Charles Bronson is allowed to play his usual western, shoot-them-up, tough guy are not too bad. Some of them, like the scenes in the saloon about halfway through the movie, are even good. As soon as the white buffalo is brought in however, the movie goes down the drain. The buffalo is not scary in the least due to the poor special effects. Its movements are a joke. It sounds like a bloody fog horn. It is just bad.
This is, unfortunately, simply a bad move. Thanks to some decent scenes splattered throughout the movie, and the somewhat colorful dialects used in the dialogues, I give it four out of ten…barely.